Wednesday, July 17

Waiting anxiously for Singapore-Sibu direct flights

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Robert Tan

Michael Wong Ngee Khih

SIBU: The recent announcement on the proposed Sibu/Singapore direct flight augurs well for local travel agents who are also calling for cheaper landing facilities to attract more low-cost carriers.

Managing director of Equitorial Tours and Travel Sdn Bhd Robert Tan for one said the much awaited route would do wonders for the tourism industry here as more Singaporeans would be motivated to come to Sibu.

“The announcement is certainly timely for Sibu people who have been waiting for the route for as long as I can remember.

“Among other merits, the Sibu/Singapore route would also benefit the Sibu/Johor Baharu sector. This will certainly excite the tourism market here,” Tan told The Borneo Post when asked to respond to Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri’s comment that the much awaited Sibu/Singapore direct flight may become a reality soon as Silk Airlines is believed to be eyeing the route.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Abdul Rahim said airlines would come based on the study of demand and being private operators they needed to see if the route was economically viable.

He added that airlines were now more cost-conscious as the cost of fuel had rocketed to US$130 per barrel.

To this, Tan added: “There are so many low cost airlines looking for new routes such as Sibu to expand their network and business. But for this to happen, we need to offer them cheap landing facilities to entice them here.”

Meanwhile, Metropolitan Travel Service Sdn Bhd manager Michael Wong Ngee Khih too gave the thumbs up to the announcement, saying if the route materialised it would go a long way to lessen the hassle of passengers here travelling to Singapore.

“Presently, travelling to Singapore is very time consuming as we need to take an early flight to Kuching for a transit.

“Precious time is wasted waiting at the airport to catch our flight to Singapore. But it will be a different story if there is a direct flight to Singapore from Sibu,” Wong said.

The proposed route would help stimulate both tourism and economic activities for the riverine town, he added.

“This is because the availability of such route will make it convenient for tourists from Singapore to travel here to experience the diverse cultures of the ethnic groups and savour the mouth-watering local delicacies,” he enthused.

“Sibu being the gateway to the central region will motivate tourists to extend their stay as they can move on to other places of interest such as Kanowit, Kapit and so on.”