KUCHING: Kuching International Airport (KIA) now offers connectivity to Jakarta through Kalstar Aviation, which made their maiden flight here yesterday.
The maiden flight, which arrived with Indonesian tourism players and media, utilises its newly-furbished Boeing 737-300 aircraft which has the capacity to carry 148 passengers.
The inclusion of Kalstar brings the number of airlines operating at KIA to eight.
The others are Malaysia Airlines, Air Asia, Firefly, Batavia Air, Royal Brunei Airlines, Tiger Airways and Silk Air.
Kalstar commenced scheduled daily flights for the Jakarta-Pontianak-Kuching and vice versa route with arrival in Kuching at 9:45am and departure for Pontianak at 10.15am every day.
“Malaysia Airports (MAB) welcomes Kalstar’s operations to KIA and wishes them all the best for this service. We are delighted with this as it offers connection to Jakarta, with stopover at Pontianak, which will benefit passengers from Sarawak in terms of choices.
“MAB is actively collaborating with the government to ensure that we maximise the effectiveness of our marketing investment to attract new airlines and establish new routes,” Malaysia Airports managing director Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad said.
Meanwhile Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) chairman Dato Rashid Khan said the route would profit Kalstar as well as tourism stakeholders in the state.
“We will further the cooperation between tourism stakeholders in both countries by organising more promotional campaigns such as participating in trade shows and travel fairs in Indonesia and we will also arrange for Indonesian stakeholders to come here,” he said.
The flight is seen as a welcome addition to Kalstar’s route expansion and the airline looks forward to continuous growth for this operation.
“We started the route because there is demand to come here, especially for tourism, medical and education. Now people can travel between Jakarta and Kuching in a shorter time compared to other airlines. It will take about 3 hours, including transit time,” said Kalstar vice president Aditya Wardana, adding that they hope to develop tourism with the Pontianak-Kuching route as well.
MAB gave free landing rights to Kalstar for the first three years as well as free 6 months rental of office space within the main terminal at KIA.
Also present were Kalstar president Andy Masyhur, MAB marketing general manager Mohamed Sallauddin Mat Sah and other tourism delegates from both Sarawak and Indonesia.
Ticketing for Kalstar is currently handled by Straits Central Travel, which can be contacted at 082-242295.