Thursday November 8, 2012
Russia-Malaysia flights set to soar
By YVONNE LIM
KUALA LUMPUR: The first non-stop flights from Russia to Malaysia will take off this Dec 17, and is set to pave the “runway” for the arrival of more Russian tourists to the country.
Fifteen charter flights, with a carrying capacity of 147 passengers each, will depart from Vladivostok to Kota Kinabalu and Langkawi, with a transit at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport over three months, and is expected to bring in 2,205 tourists to Malaysia within that period.
The series of charter flights is the product of a collaboration between Vladivostok Airlines and Malaysian tour agency Tourism Vacation Resources Sdn Bhd.
While witnessing the signing of the agreement between the two parties, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen described the initiative as “timely”, as there are currently no direct flights from any city in Russia into the country.
“This will not only bring in more tourist arrivals from Russia, but will also strengthen the friendly ties between our two countries,” she said.
She said Vladivostok was the best place to begin direct flights between Russia and Malaysia as the East-Russian city was only six and a half hours from Kota Kinabalu, and eight hours and fourty-minutes from Langkawi by air.
“This is an untapped route and I see a lot of potential in this partnership,” she said.
The first flight from Vladivostok to Malaysia will arrive at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport on Dec 17, and the last flight out will be from the same airport on March 26.
Tourism Vacation Resources chairman Tan Sri Ghazzali Sheikh Abdul Khalid said that the partnership with Vladivostok Airlines will also look at arranging travel for Malaysians who wish to visit Vladivostok, in the near future.
Later, while officiating the Islamic Fashion Festival (IFF) 2012 at JW Marriott hotel here, the minister said that the annual festival helped put Malaysia on the map as an international luxury holiday and shopping destination.
“The IFF is an excellent platform to showcase Malaysia to the rest of the world as an Islamic Fashion capital, having transcended local boundaries and visited a number of major cities around the world such as Abu Dhabi, Astana, Bandung, Dubai, New York and Monte Carlo,” she said in her speech at the event which was themed “Hakuna Matata”, which featured mostly animal-print designs.
The festival organised by the Association of Muslim Apparel Entrepreneurs and Designers (AMAED) showcases ensembles by local and international designers that adhere to the Islamic way of dressing.