SEPANG: Turkmenistan Airlines’ inaugural flight from Ashgabat to Kuala Lumpur, which landed today, serves as a springboard for Malaysia to explore the Central Asia and Russia markets.

Tourism Malaysia International Promotions (America/Europe/Oceania) senior director Iskandar Mirza Mohd Yusof said Turkmenistan Airlines is the second airlines from Central Asia after Uzbekistan Airways with direct flights to Kuala Lumpur

“In addition, the airlines also opens the space to Muslim-friendly tourism elements since the Central Asia and Russian communities are mostly Muslim,“ he said.

“So we really hope this will give us a starting point to explore the Central Asian and Russian markets where there are no direct flights (to Kuala Lumpur),“ he said.

He said this to reporters after the arrival of Turkmenistan Airlines’ inaugural flight which landed at 4.10 pm today at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) Terminal 1 here today.

He said according to statistics, the number of Russian tourist arrivals to Malaysia for the period January to November 2023 was 100,645 tourists, an increase of 39.5 per cent compared to the number in 2019.

“The number of Russian tourists to Malaysia increased after the COVID-19 pandemic,“ he said.

The twice-weekly flights from Turkmenistan to Malaysia will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays whereas flights from Malaysia to Turkmenistan will be on Wednesdays and Thursdays. The duration of the flight will be about eight hours and 10 minutes.

Earlier, the inaugural flight, carrying 228 passengers from Ashgabat, received a water cannon saluteon arrival.

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing and Turkmenistan Ambassador to Malaysia Muhammetnyyaz Mashalov witnessed the occasion. - Bernama

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