Tuesday, October 15

Tourism ministry to persuade MAS, AirAsia X to resume suspended flights

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RAUB: The Tourism Ministry will intensify its efforts to persuade Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and AirAsia X to resume their flights to regional and international destinations which were suspended recently.

Its minister, Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen, said this was important as the suspension of the flights would cause the tourism industry to suffer a massive decline in the number of tourist arrivals to Malaysia and hence, lose billions of ringgit in revenue.

“This is because each foreign tourist will spend between RM1,000 and RM4,000 depending on their country of origin,” she told Bernama after presenting the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) to over 400 recipients in Raub parliamentary constituency here today.

However, Dr Ng said the ministry realised that the matter was beyond its jurisdiction and hence, could only hope that the two companies would reconsider their decisions.

“We cannot do anything as this is their business decision and they must have their own plans and strategies, but we will work harder to encourage and persuade both MAS and AirAsia X to resume the suspended flights,” she said.

Dr Ng said to overcome the issue of declining number of tourist arrivals, the ministry would focus more on the tourists who would stay longer and spend more in Malaysia.

The ministry is expecting 25 million tourist arrivals for this year with a targeted revenue of RM60 billion, she said.

Air Asia X had recently suspended four of its international flights, namely to Mumbai, New Delhi, Paris and London, while MAS suspended its regional routes, namely Kota Kinabalu-Osaka, Kota Kinabalu-Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu-Haneda (Tokyo) and Kota Kinabalu-Seoul last month.

MAS had also reduced the frequency of its flights from Kuala Lumpur to Surabaya, Johannesburg and Rome, Kuala Lumpur-Karachi-Dubai, Kuala Lumpur-Dubai-Damman, Kuala Lumpur-Cape Town-Buenos Aires, and Langkawi-Penang-Singapore. – Bernama