KUCHING: The termination of Firefly service to Sarawak has caused the state to lose about 4,000 visiting Korean golfers to Johor.
Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Dr James Dawos expressed his huge disappointment with the airline for their refusal to provide charter flights for the golfers to Sarawak for their golf holidays between December and February.
“More than 5,000 Korean golfers actually wanted to come and play in Kuching but because of the problems with the flights, only 2,500 will come and another 4,000 will go to Johor,” he said yesterday after a press conference held at Sarawak Club on the reconstruction of James Brooke cottage at Mount Serembu.
Dawos added that he contacted Firefly to discuss the possibilities of providing charter flights for the golfers but the airline declined to do so.
“So what is Firefly to us? I have been indignant with what Firefly has been doing,” he stressed.
He also claimed that local travel agents who had made arrangements for their clients to come to the state using Firefly via Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru have not been compensated by the airline.
“When the flights were cancelled and our travel agents requested for a refund, they said ‘ no, give us three months to do so’. What kind of airline is this?” he complained.
Dawos therefore urged the state government to continue their talks with the federal government to have direct flights to the state.
According to reports on Wednesday, MAS Group CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said Firefly jets will be taken over by MAS and redeployed into MAS’ operations by Dec 4 for its short-haul premium full-service offering.
“The takeover of jet services is an important part of MAS group’s business realignment and is prompted by the need to address network and fleet restructuring plans for short-haul jet services,” he said in a statement.
The airline’s Johor-Kuching route was scraped on Sept 15 while Kuala Lumpur-Kuching tickets will not be sold after Oct 31.