KUCHING: Talk is still progressing positively between the state government, Sabah and Malaysia Airlines (MAS) on the acquisition of majority stake in MASwings.
Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg who was asked on the progress of the talk yesterday added that it was now up to MAS as the airline company was undergoing a turnaround plan which included its subsidiary MASwings.
“There is a possibility that MASwings becomes an autonomous subsidiary company of MAS and we are also discussing whether MASwings should be able to fly beyond the present routes as a rural air service provider,” he told reporters at the State Legislative Assembly here yesterday.
Abang Johari, who is also Housing Minister, said after the discussion, all the parties involved agreed that MASwings should maintain its original structure but both Sarawak and Sabah should have a say in decisions on the routes.
“Once we have a say, when MASwings wants to withdraw from any route, they will have to consult us so everything will be done based on consultative approach,” he added.
Abang Johari noted that currently MASwings was still considered a rural air service provider but both state governments wanted the airline to extend its services even to places in East Asia such as Hong Kong, Japan and Australia.
He stated that MASwings is replacing its twin otter aircraft with a new generation of aircraft that were more efficient and with bigger passenger capacity.
He played down the suggestions for the state to establish its own airline, stating that aviation business was a very competitive and expensive industry.
“What we can do now is discuss the possibility of working together with the existing airlines. Besides that, we should request that the airlines include routes accessibility that will open up our sky,” Abang Johari said.
He stated that in 2015, the nations in Asean would be implementing an open sky policy which would benefit the travellers to fly point to point in any Asean country.