Interview with Mr Shakil Aftab Kashmirwala — Malindo Air’s Country Manager
Malindo Air a joint venture of Malaysia and Lion AIR, Indonesia has started its operation in Pakistan. Malaysian Deputy Minister of Transportation Datuk ab Aziz Kaprawi was among the first passengers of a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Lahore along with Malindo Airline Chief Executive Officer, recently.
Malaysia is honored to continue the spirit and tradition of the close ties between Malaysia and Pakistan, said Datuk ab Aziz Kaprawi, after taking his first flight to Pakistan. “We look forward to further strengthen our bilateral ties to fully harness the economic growth potential between the two countries,” he added. “We are happy to have tourist connectivity between Malaysia and Pakistan.”
According to him, Malindo airlines without any doubt contribute greatly to accelerate growth of country’s tourism. “The very positive trend in tourism outlook between Malaysia and Pakistan is another reflection of our increasingly closer cooperation and solidarity that has been fostered over the years.”
He added that tourism is a huge sector of the Malaysian economy. Total international tourist receipts for Malaysia increased by 3.9 percent to RM 60.6 billion ($19 billion) in 2014. Last year Malaysia recorded 60,000 tourist arrivals from Pakistan. “Better accessibility, promotions offered by airlines and the wide coverage of Visit Malaysia Year contributed to the increase of tourist arrivals from these markets,” he added.
Malindo Air, Chief Executive Officer, Chandran Rama Muthy said it gives him great pleasure to celebrate Malindo Air’s inaugural flight. “Our maiden flight arrived smoothly and on schedule, marking another historic milestone of Malindo Air,” he said.
He further said Pakistan is now the twelfth country that we are operating to, adding that in view of our progressive fleet expansion, we are concurrently looking at extending our network to more cities in southern China and Australia, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan and Jeddah.
Malindo Air’s Country Manager, Pakistan, Mr Shakil Aftab Kashmirwala said that Malindo Air will also open many doors of opportunities for both the countries while Pakistanis working in Malaysia will also get benefit of this flight operation. “We hope that number of tourists will increase and our presence in the Pakistani market through effective advertising and promotional campaigns and as well as other trade engagements will certainly help boost tourist arrivals into Malaysia for the coming year,” he said.
In an interview with PAGE, Mr. Shakil Aftab Kashmirwala talked exclusively on the operation of Malindo Air. He shed some light on the strategy behind this operation between Lahore and Kuala Lumpur.
Following are details of chit chat with him:
PAGE: What is the purpose in making Pakistan a new destination in this region?
KASHMIRWALA: The purpose of all the efforts by Malindo Air in making Pakistan a new destination is to boost tourism and open new vistas of trade and other sectors’ collaboration between the brotherly countries.
Pakistan is now the 12th country that Malindo Air is operating and being a full service airline, Malindo Air’s aim is to continuously enhance its services which are both innovative and progressive for the industry.
Malindo Air will open many doors of opportunities for both the countries while Pakistanis working in Malaysia will also get benefit from this flight operation. The number of tourists and our presence in the Pakistani market will increase gradually. Effective promotional campaigns as well as trade engagements will certainly help boost tourist arrivals in both the countries in the coming years.
PAGE: Why Pakistan has prime importance for the Malindo Air launch?
KASHMIRWALA: Pakistan is a very significant destination for the airline and this is why Malaysian Deputy Minister of Transportation Datuk Ab Aziz Kaprawi himself visited the country and held talks with ministry representatives including Punjab Minister Ch. Shafiq ur Rehman.
PAGE: What has been the progress of Malaysia in the tourism industry?
KASHMIRWALA: Tourism is a huge sector of the Malaysian economy. “Total international tourist receipts for Malaysia increased by 3.9 percent to RM 60.6 billion ($19 billion) in 2014. Last year Malaysia recorded 60,000 tourist arrivals from Pakistan. Better accessibility, promotions offered by airlines and the wide coverage of Visit Malaysia Year contributed to the increase of tourist arrivals from these markets.
PAGE: Why Pakistani will opt for Malindo Air?
KASHMIRWALA: Malindo Air is a premium airline, providing added values like free baggage allowance, meals, in-flight entertainment system, spacious leather seats, WiFi and roaming calls services on board. We have also introduced Malindo Air’s Executive Lounge as a privilege to our loyal customers in KLIA2.
The initiation of operations in Pakistan is yet another historic milestone in the short history of Malindo Air. Since our inception in 2012, we have made a rather rapid growth despite being fairly new.
Our present fleet strength consists of 16 Boeing 737 Next Generation aircraft and 11 ATR 72-700 turboprop aircraft.
Malindo Air operates short and medium haul flights to Malaysian and regional destinations including Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, China, Australia and Vietnam.
In view of our progressive fleet expansion, we are concurrently looking at extending our network to more cities in southern China and Australia, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan and Jeddah.
Due to weekly four flights by Malindo Air, more visitors from Pakistan to Malaysia will come and that will pave the way for greater progress and development in the tourism industry.
Malaysia has many fascinating things to offer from warm, friendly people and rich cultural diversity to its breathtakingly diverse flora and fauna, which is globally recognized.
PAGE: what are the main attractions for Pakistani tourists in Malaysia?
KASHMIRWALA: Malaysia’s top tourist destinations are the Mulu Caves in Sarawak; the beautiful diving spots of Perhentian and Sipadan Islands; Island Resort of Langkawi; one of the world’s tallest landmarks Petronas Twin Towers and Mount Kinabalu.
United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) listed Malaysia as the 10th most visited country in 2012.