KUALA LUMPUR: Turkmenistan Airlines, the national and the only air-carrier of Turkmenistan, is planning to resume its flight to Kuala Lumpur from December 22. The airline will re-introduce three times weekly direct flights from Turkmenistan’s capital, Ashgabat to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) using the Boeing 777-200LR.

Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd group chief executive officer Raja Azmi Raja Nazuddin told the New Straits Times today that the airline would contribute towards Malaysia’s efforts to increase international tourist arrivals.

“We welcome Turkmenistan Airlines to KLIA and we are elated that the airline had decided to commerce its operations at the end of this year because not only that international flight connectivity from Central Asia to KL is now expended, but these new flights from Turkmenistan’s capital city of Ashgabat will be able to contribute towards our efforts to increase foreign tourist arrivals into Malaysia in conjunction with Visit Malaysia 2020,” he said.

Turkmenistan Airlines used to fly once a week to Kuala Lumpur in February 2015. The airline suspended its flight in May in the same year. The flight from Ashgabat to Kuala Lumpur takes about eight hours. Malaysians are still required to obtain a visa prior to visiting Turkmenistan.

Currently, the airline is rolling out its expansion plan by introducing new destinations to Southeast Asia, including Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam. Its current network includes Bangkok, London, Paris, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Moscow and St. Petersburg.

The country plans to position itself as a transit hub for tourists from Southeast Asia, Europe, Turkey and its neighbouring countries such as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan to fly to the Arabian Peninsula.

According to Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, there were about 300 students from Turkmenistan studying in Malaysia. He is currently in Turkmenistan with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed on an official working visit.

Source: New Straits Times