Thursday, August 22

Sarawak mulls making MASwings regional airline, State Assembly told

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KUCHING: The Sarawak government has no intention of establishing its own airline but is considering positioning rural air services operator MASwings as a regional airline, the State Legislative Assembly was told today.  

Assistant Tourism Minister Datuk Talib Zulpilip said MASwings can serve Sarawak, Sabah and the BIMP-EAGA, the East Asean Growth Area covering parts of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

A special delegation led by the state’s tourism minister will engage with the relevant federal ministries to convey the state’s intention, he said when replying to a question from Wong Ho Leng (DAP-Bukit Assek).

“The state government has also initiated dialogue and meeting sessions to seek opportunities for foreign airlines to operate into Sarawak,” he said.

Talib said it cannot be denied that the lack of public information on the plans following the recent share-swap deal between national carrier Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and budget airline AirAsia has created anxiety among tourism industry players in Sarawak.

He also said that the move by budget airline Firefly to cease operating its flights between the peninsula and Kuching effective Oct 31, on the heels of the MAS-AirAsia share-swap deal, did not augur well for the state.

The state government has written to the federal government to express its concern in the matter, he said.  – Bernama