KOTA KINABALU: Air travellers, both locals and foreigners, now have more choices with the presence of Firefly in the market. Their presence will drive other airlines to offer the most competitive fares.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman when making the comment, said the increase in the number of daily flights between the nation’s capital and the state capital have made it easier for travellers to visit Sabah.
“Sabah has worked extremely hard to promote itself as a destination and to offer the best of what the island of Borneo has. There was a time when we were unable to expand our tourism sector as rapidly as we would have liked to. This was certainly attributable to the lack of flights between KL and KK.
“Air travel is after all, the only way for tourists to get to East Malaysia,” he said in his speech read by Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun during the welcoming ceremony of the inaugural Firefly flight to the state capital from Kuala Lumpur at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport near here yesterday.
He said the state government’s focus on expanding the tourism sector along with the aviation industry is included under the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) plan as well as the ‘Halatuju’ or development agenda.
“We are committed to focusing our efforts to strengthen the tourism sector, as it has been identified as a growth sector of our economy.
“However, we will continue to adhere to the principles of sustainable development as we expand our tourism sector. The government is also consistently providing basic infrastructure to support the growth of the sector and testimony to this is the expansion of KKIA,” he said.
He said the launching of Firefly’s service to the state capital would certainly help fulfill the government’s agenda to stimulate economic growth through the tourism sector.
Musa added that capitalising on existing infrastructure and with Firefly’s venturing into jet propelled aircraft, the airline will be able to offer reliable connecting flights to East Malaysia for travellers arriving in the country using MAS flights.
“It is our hope that Firefly will continue to serve specialised markets, meeting the needs of local and international passengers who seek good connectivity and more importantly, affordable air transport.
“We look forward to Firefly expanding its routes to towns like Sandakan and Tawau, and other destinations in the region to better serve travellers,” he said.
Present during the launch were Malaysia Airlines (MAS) chairman Tan Sri Dr Munir Majid and Firefly managing director Datuk Eddy Leong.
The airlines’ Boeing 737-800 landed at KKIA at 4.10pm. The inaugural flight from KL to KK however actually departed on Jan 15, marking the airlines’ first docking into Terminal 1 of KKIA.
It celebrated its entrance into Sabah yesterday with an additional third daily flight between KL and KK with fares priced at the lowest.
Firefly is a subsidiary of MAS.