Next, MASwings eyes Philippine routes

KOTA KINABALU: MASwings Sdn Bhd (MASwings) is aiming to fly to Puerto Princesa, Palawan Island in the Philippines by the first quarter of 2013 after it has successfully taken off to Bandar Seri Begawan of Brunei, Pontianak and Tarakan Indonesia.

Disclosing this here yesterday, its Chief Commercial Officer, Shauqi Ahmad said MASwings, a wholly owned subsidiary of Malaysian Airline System Berhad, was waiting for the green light from the Transport Ministry by end of this year, to grant permission to fly to the location of Natural World Heritage Site, Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park.

“This is our next plan for further expansion in the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia- Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) region, to achieve MASwings’ vision of becoming the most reputable and preferred airline in East Asia.

“We are looking at the positive way in this expansion planning, especially with the recent signing of the Framework Agreement for the Bangsamoro between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which is good news for any airline companies,” he said.

Shauqi believed the move towards ending more than 40 years of conflict in southern Philippines will also boost the tourism industry, where there will be more confidence among tourists in terms of their safety and security.

He said this to reporters after launching the 5th Anniversary Promo Fare 2012 at Le Meridien Hotel, here, yesterday.

In line with the promotional fare, MASwings offers air fare as low as RM55 from Sandakan to Tawau or vice-versa and RM75 from Kota Kinabalu to Lahad Datu or Sandakan or Tawau or Miri and the fare is applicable for vice versa routes.

The offer is valid from October 17 to 23, 2012 for a travel period from October 19, 2012 until March 31, 2013. It is inclusive of airport tax, fuel and insurance surcharges. The fare is available via internet, MAS or MASwings ticketing counters or through its supporting agents.

Over the past five years, Shauqi said MASwings has enjoyed tremendous achievement and success notably its operations into the BIMP-EAGA region.

He said MASwings also aimed to transform from being just a domestic operator to an active regional player.

He said it was built on five core values, namely Integrity, Resourceful, Passion, Teamwork and Care.

At the event yesterday, Shauqi also said MASwings had won two awards from MAS, Domestic Station MH Award and Ancillary Business Award in the MH Customer Experience 2011 award presentation ceremony.

It means MASwings is the best Malaysia Airlines subsidiary, surpassing the performance of other subsidiaries.

“Our domestic passenger load has soared from 600,000 when we started our operations to 1.4 million last year. We aim to achieve 1.5 million passengers this year and 1.6 million next year.

“We believe this is within our reach following the introduction of the new BIMP-EAGA routes by linking out two major hubs Kota Kinabalu and Kuching, with Bandar Seri Begawan and Pontianak and from Tawau to Tarakan February this year,” Shauqi added.

He said the linkage has contributed significantly to the increasing number of MASwings passengers and help to boost tourist arrivals to Sabah and Sarawak.

On the recent introduction of special promotional fare ex Bandar Seri Begawan to Kota Kinabalu, MASwings secured 4,500 bookings for traveling from September to December this year with majority of the bookings being made by Bruneians. Now, Shauqi said the airline was extending the special offers ex Pontianak and ex Tarakan until year-end.

Within the first week of promotion, MASAwings managed to secure 1,200 bookings ex Pontianak and ex Tarakan.

During his speech, Shauqi also said MASwings’ success over the past five years was largely due to the good partnership and support it received from agents in Sabah, Sarawak and other BIMP-EAGA stations.

He said agents from Sabah and Sarawak have been very supportive of MASwings, which contributed more than 40 percent to its total revenue.

Meanwhile, Sales Marketing and Charters of MASwings Sabah said with the introduction of Kota Kinabalu to Puerto Princesa route, it will be not only be a potential business for the tourism sector, but it be drive MASwings forward in its effort to support the BIMP-EAGA initiatives

“The average of MASwings On Time Performance (OTP) was registered about 94 percent last year, and we are expecting to achieve more positive results this year.

“We are working hard to achieve a better performance and we are positive on this based on the growing number of passengers,” he said.

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