Malaysia Airlines intends to expand rapidly in China beginning early 2017.
Plans are to serve eight new destinations, introduce 11 new routes and add 35 frequencies from its hubs in Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu and Penang.
In addition to new services from Kuala Lumpur to Haikou, Nanjing, Fuzhou, Wuhan, Chengdu and Chongqing, the airline will also launch routes from Penang to Shenzhen and Shanghai and from Kota Kinabalu to Tianjin.
Stating that the airline has "huge confidence in China", CEO Peter Bellew, said: "Malaysians relish the business opportunities and tourism experiences in China. (Also), the Chinese tourist market to Malaysia is growing rapidly due to the shared food, language and cultural connections."
Bellew added that the airline has plans to triple their Chinese business over the next five years, and could potentially offer direct flights to 20 Chinese cities from Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching by 2019.
"In addition to the initial (expansion), the airline will promote tourism in Malaysia and China through seasonal or ad-hoc services to key leisure markets such as Langkawi, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu," he said.
Malaysia Airlines expansion in China comes in the wake of the government’s decision to extend visa exemption to Chinese tourists until December 2017 in view of the increasing tourist arrivals from China into Malaysia.
Chinese tourists to Malaysia increased to 1.46 million from January to August 2016, compared to 1.13 million the same period last year.