AirAsia Philippines begins flights to Malaysia

Budget carrier AirAsia's Philippine unit on Saturday began its international operations with the first of its daily flights to Malaysia, the company said.

The airline's Airbus A320 plane departed on its inaugural foreign flight from Clark airport, a sprawling former US airbase almost two hours' drive from Manila, for Kuala Lumpur's low-cost terminal.

The airline, which is 60 percent owned by Filipino investors and 40 percent by Malaysia's AirAsia International Ltd., aims to tap the growing tourism market between the two countries, its chief executive Marianne Hontiveros said.

"We want to draw tourists from Malaysia to our amazing beaches and natural wonders. If we are able to draw even a fraction from Malaysia's 24.5 million tourists, this will impact on our arrival record," she said in a statement.

AirAsia Philippines also plans to begin flights to Hong Kong in July.

The airline, based in Clark, began flying in March to Philippine tourist destinations.

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