Thursday, June 20

MASwings, RBA code sharing a move in right direction – Masidi

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KOTA KINABALU: It is high time for airlines in Asia to look beyond the potential of its own border in order to move further forward.

Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, Datuk Masidi Manjun, in making the call, said that there is a new trend in tourism promotion, as nowadays, visitors are interested to hop from one region to another, thus raising the need for better collaboration between the airlines to meet the customers’ demands.

“Some people like to visit Sarawak and Brunei after spending some time in Sabah. We should not be worried about them spending less time in our state or place, but instead sell the entire region as one destination, because it means there will be an increased volume of visitors coming to spend their holidays here.

“People may say the visitors may be spending less time here but we should look at the volume of arrivals or the number of people who come here rather than the number of days they would spend in the country, and for that to happen is to have a communication network, and we can do that through smart partnership.

“There is a term that goes ‘winner takes it all’, but I believe it would be more appropriate to say ‘winners take it all’. There is no reason why there should be a winner or loser, because I believe it is better to have a win-win situation for all to enjoy,” he said when witnessing the signing of the Code Share Agreement between MASwings and Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA), here, yesterday.

MASwings chief executive officer, Datuk Captain Mohd Nawawi Awang, signed the agreement on behalf of the airline while RBA was represented by its chief commercial and planning officer, Karam Chand. Also present was Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai.

Through the collaboration, effective July 1, MASwings will add its ‘MH’ code to Royal Brunei-operated flights serving Kota Kinabalu-Bandar Seri Begawan sector 15 times weekly, while Royal Brunei will add its ‘BI’ code to MASwings-operated four times weekly flights serving Bandar Seri Begawan-Kuching sector.

Masidi has described the smart partnership as moving towards the right direction, adding that both airlines needed to collaborate to realise a better potential in their working relationship.

“The airlines business in Asia is quite crowded but I think being as it were, and crowded as it is, it does not mean that airlines cannot make money or will be making less money. I think it is all about doing things better and what they (MASwings and RBA) have done today (yesterday) is ‘doing things better’ … they are going to collaborate and obviously it is a very strategic partnership. The potential for growth is immeasurable, thus the potential to make more profit is even better,” he said.

Masidi added that RBA has its own reputation as a reputable airline while MASwings may be a new airline but it has proven to be a very capable airline with a very lean but effective management.

He said it was also important for the airlines to work as a group, and it needs the players to have an open mind and eyes to spot potential businesses.