India-based LCC IndiGo will commence new daily services linking Kuala Lumpur from Delhi and Bengaluru on November 15, becoming the only India-based airline to currently offer services to Malaysia.
Although Malaysia-based airlines are already flying on these routes, the trade hails IndiGo’s new flights as a major victory for air connectivity between the countries, as they introduce more travel options and competitive airfares for Indian outbound travellers to Malaysia.
Arokia Das Anthony, director, Luxury Tours Malaysia, explained: “IndiGo has good connections domestically. It will be able to carry passengers from other points of India to Delhi in the north, or Bengaluru in the south, and travel onwards to Kuala Lumpur. Being from the same airline, connecting flights to Kuala Lumpur will not cost as much as purchasing seats from two separate carriers.”
He added: “The Malaysia-based airlines, be it AirAsia, Malaysia Airlines or Malindo Air, only fly to the big cities in India. Hence all this while, Indian travellers from smaller cities will have to travel to the big cities on domestic carriers, in order to fly to Kuala Lumpur.”
Raaj Navaratnaa, general manager at New Asia Holiday Tours & Travel, said: “Cities surrounding Delhi and Bengaluru will now flourish (for outbound travel to Malaysia). The new flights reduces the cost of travel for families from smaller cities such as Coimbatore, Patna, Guwahati and Vijayawada wanting to holiday in Malaysia, and it also provides healthy competition for AirAsia that flies on both routes.”
IndiGo’s new routes come at a favourable time, said Navaratnaa, as Indian families are expected to be more price conscious with a weakened rupee.
“We need to promote creatively. We have packages combining city and island, hill resorts and theme parks and spiritual tourism which includes visits to monasteries and temples,” he said.
Update: An earlier version of this story wrote that IndiGo is the first India-based airline to mount services to Malaysia, although Air India and Jet Airways previously also had services to Malaysia but no longer. The story has been updated to reflect that.