State pins high hopes on Malindo Air

MAIDEN FLIGHT: Passengers aboard Malindo Air 737-900ER given a traditional Sarawak welcome after arriving at Kuching International Airport. The maiden flight was 80 per cent full and carried 50 media personnel. — Bernama photo

KUCHING: Malindo Air is expected to boost the state’s tourism industry with its four daily flights between Kuching and Kuala Lumpur.

Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said the low cost airline, a collaboration between Malaysia and Indonesia, will connect the people in the Asean and BIMP-EAGA region.

“We have many resources here that we can offer to tourists. With this collaboration, we hope more tourists will be brought in through the low cost carrier,” he said.

Abang Johari added Malindo Air will strengthen the bond as well as social and economic ties between the people in the
region.

This is done in the Asean and BIMP-EAGA spirit and at the same time it will enhance the tourism industry in the state,” he said in his speech at a ceremony held to officially welcome Malindo Air at Kuching International Airport (KIA) here yesterday.

Also present were chief executive officer of Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) Datuk Rashid Khan, Malindo Air chief executive officer Chandran Rama Muthy, president of National Aerospace and Defence Industries (NADI), Tan Sri Datuk Ahmad Johan.

Abang Johari said Sarawak had just hosted an Asean International Film Festival Award (Aiffa) 2013, participated by film producers not only from Asean countries but as far as Bollywood and Hollywood.

“Film producers from Bollywood and Hollywood are quite surprised to see that there are a lot of potential places here. Datuk Seri Michelle Yeoh is coming back to shoot a documentary on conservation,” he added.

So he also suggested Malindo Air to look beyond Indonesia and Malaysia in providing its services.

“For instance, there are many Indonesians who come to have medical treatments so maybe a flight from Jakarta to Kuching could be set up,” he said.

On a question, Abang Johari said the number of tourists is expected to increase following the new service.

Malindo Air with a fleet of Boeing 737-900 ER aircrafts started flying between Kuching and Kuala Lumpur on March 23.

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