Wednesday, July 17

More flights to Miri next year – Transport Minister

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MIRI: Miri Airport is expected to be busier next year with the reinstatement of AirAsia Singapore-Miri direct flight and Firefly to fly in from Kuala Lumpur and other destinations in the country.

“My ministry received requests to have AirAsia fly Kuching-Miri-Singapore. I have already approved the route. So most probably AirAsia will start to fly Miri-Singapore from January,” said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha when approached by The Borneo Post last Sunday night.

Kong was in Miri to attend the Foochow triple celebration gala dinner at Eastwood Valley Golf and Country Club. Around 15,000 Foochows from within the country, Austria, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, New Zealand, Canada and Macau attended the dinner.

The minister disclosed there would be an increase of flights between Kuala Lumpur, Miri and other destinations in Sarawak and Sabah. Apart from Miri, other sectors in the state include Kuching and Sibu and Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan in Sabah.

“Not only AirAsia will increase their flights.  Firefly will start to fly to Sarawak by next year. Firefly will start to fly some routes from Kuala Lumpur to Sarawak and Sabah by next year. They will gradually increase their services from 2012 to 2013 until 2015,” he said.

The minister threw a challenge to industry players, especially in the tourism sector, to play their part in ensuring the sustainability of the routes.

“We (the ministry) had approved the route. It is up to stakeholders in Miri to do something to entice tourists, visitors and investors to come in. If they are able to do all this, Miri could be the second hub for Sarawak.”

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr George Chan was among the state cabinet ministers attending the gala dinner with Foochow leaders.

Among them were president of the World Federation of Fuzhou Associations Ltd Tan Sri Datuk Jimmy Lau, Second Finance Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh, chairman of Miri Foochow Association Hii Khing Chiong and Datuk Seri Law Kui Kiong.

Meanwhile, Dr Chan who is also Minister of Tourism and Heritage, when approached after the dinner welcomed the minister’s announcement.

“This will definitely help Miri a lot. This means Miri would be receiving a lot of tourists and visitors, especially Singaporeans,” he said.