KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia Airlines on Tuesday launched a Southeast Asian regional travel pass, offering discounted trips to boost passenger numbers, which plunged during the economic downturn.
The national carrier said the "Asean Pass" will allow travellers to take four flights around the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations bloc for as little as US$229 (S$329).
"In line with the ministry of tourism's efforts to promote intra-Asean tourism, Malaysia Airlines has taken an innovative approach to support this initiative," said chairman Munir Majid.
Munir said tourist arrivals into Malaysia from its regional neighbours reached 16.6 million last year, up from 15.6 million in 2007, and was worth 32.9 billion ringgit (S$13.46 billion).
Malaysia Airlines sank into the red in the first quarter, with losses of 198 million dollars due to weaker demand, overcapacity and volatile fuel prices. It was the first quarterly loss for the company in two-and-a-half years.
It also said the outlook remains challenging as travel demand in the second quarter was expected to remain soft.
However, managing director Idris Jala told state media Tuesday that its passenger load factor has seen an increase in June and July. -AFP