The first inaugural Kuching to Hainan direct flight took off last night, carrying 71 Malaysians and two Chinese nationals to Haikou city via Malindo Air.
The air route, operated by Malindo Air of Malaysia with a Boeing 737 aircraft, is the first international air route launched in Haikou this year.
Two round trips are scheduled every week on Monday and Thursday.
The outbound Flight OD679 leaves Haikou Meilan Internatioanl Airport at 3:15 a.m. and arrives at Kuching International Airport at 7 a.m. Flight OD768 departs from Kuching at 10:35 p.m. and reaches Haikou at 2:15 a.m. the following day, local time.
Haikou plans to launch seven to nine international air routes in 2019, which will increase the number of international air routes from Haikou Meilan International Airport to 44 this year, according to Haikou Municipal Tourism Development Commission.
International passenger throughput at the airport is expected to hit 1.32 million in 2019, a year-on-year increase of 15 percent.
The direct flight which is now scheduled to run two times per week is not part of Malindo Air regular schedule. Instead, it is a private chartered flight organised by a large network of travel agencies in Sarawak.
Currently, there are 15 agencies in Sarawak that offer tours to Hainan via this direct flight from Kuching. They are:
Ibanika Tours & Travel
Lung Chia Pin Travel and Tours
Cat City Holidays
Natol Holidays & Tours
Great Leap Tour
Belair Travel and Tours
Good Time Travel
Summer Holiday Travel and Tour
Sibu Travel Agency
Miri Borneo Travel Agencies
There are two tours on offer at the moment – the five days three nights Lovely Hainan package which is priced at RM1,588 and the six days four nights Dynamic Hainan package which is priced at RM1,988.