KUALA LUMPUR, Nov. 4 (Xinhua) -- Malaysia Airlines, which already serves direct flights from Kuala Lumpur (KL) to China's Beijing and Shanghai, said on Friday that it will serve eight new destinations in China with direct flights, in a bid to tap into China's growing tourist market.
Starting from next April, passengers can take non-stop flights from China's Nanjing and Fuzhou to KL while from next October, direct flights will link Chengdu and Chongqing in southwest China with KL, the airline company said in a statement.
Tourists from Shenzhen and Shanghai can go directly to Penang, a tourist attraction place in northwest Malaysia, starting from Aug. 17. Direct flights will also link KL with Wuhan in central China and Haikou in China's southern-most Hainan Province.
Malaysia Airlines will also serve a flight from Tianjin to Kota Kinabalu, the capital city of the state of Sabah but the date is not determined yet.
Besides, the carrier will add a second daily flight between Shanghai and KL while the aircraft flying from KL to Hong Kong will be upgraded from Boeing 737-800 to Airbus A330, which can accommodate more comfort.
Altogether, the new expansion plan will see Malaysia Airlines serve 35 additional frequencies between China and Malaysia.
Peter Bellew, CEO of Malaysia Airlines, said the company plans to triple its Chinese business over the next five years. "I see potential for direct flights to 20 Chinese cities from KL, Penang, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching by 2019. We have huge confidence in China," he said.