MASwings plans more Twin Otter aircraft for RAS

MIRI: MASwings Sdn Bhd is considering to acquire additional Twin Otter aircraft to increase its rural air services (RAS) flights to remote Bario and Ba Kelalan.

It will also be taking delivery of six new ATR aircraft to replace its ageing Fokker 50 fleet.

This was disclosed by MASwings managing director Mohd Salleh Ahmad Tabrani after the launch of MASwings Golf Escapade Package at Eastwood Valley Golf and Country Club yesterday.

Due to the limited number of Twin Otter aircraft, which is the only aircraft that can land in Bario and Ba Kelalan airports, MASwings Rural Air Services (RAS) only flies into the area twice a week.

“We are working closely with the relevant authorities to see whether we can acquire additional Twin Otters to provide additional services to the interior of Sabah and Sarawak.

“The airports in this rural areas are what we call ‘stone ports’ or short take-off and landing ports. Only Twin Otters can land in these ports and currently we only have four such aircraft,” he said.

Mohd Salleh said with the new fleet of ATR, MASwings will be increasing the capacity of services in Sabah and Sarawak by 150 per cent later this year.

“We already have one ATR aircraft and are anticipating the delivery of six new ones.

“In total, we will have a fleet of seven which will increase the capacity of our air travel services,” he said.

The increased services will not only cater to the needs of people in Sabah and Sarawak but also domestic tourists from the peninsula and foreign tourists from overseas planning to visit the two states.

“However, this 150 per cent increase will not have impact on our services in Bario and Ba Kelalan as ATR aircraft are not able to operate and land in these stone ports,” he said.

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