Tuesday, October 15

Tourism promotions to continue despite airline disasters

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KUCHING: The Visit Malaysia Year and Visit Sarawak Year 2014 campaigns will continue despite disasters involving three airlines in recent weeks.

Minister of Tourism Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released a statement that the recent air disasters have not brought down the level of confidence among air passengers around the globe.

“Air transportation is just another mode of transport. It is just like a car where accidents can happen anytime and anywhere. Yet we still drive around in our cars,” Abang Johari told reporters at his Aidilfitri open house on Monday.

He said it was very unfortunate for Malaysia Airlines to suffer from the downing of MH17 and the missing flight MH370 this year.

“After the downing of MH17, I am sure that the International Air Transport Association and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) will review the whole airline industry,” he said.

Abang Johari said IATA and ICAO should review the current flight paths of the airline industry and come up with a pre-warning system to avoid airlines from flying above areas deemed unsafe.

The Satok assemblyman said he had personally met with the immediate family members of MH17 victim Tambi Jiee, who was killed on board along with his wife Ariza Ghazalee, and their four children Alif, Afzal, Marsha and Afruz.

“They (family) are strong and patient during this hard time. They have also relayed their confidence that everything will be sorted out soon,” he added.

He said the family members have conveyed their gratitude to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak for his diplomacy in reaching an agreement with separatists in Ukraine to release the victims’ bodies to the Netherlands.

“As this is something unpredictable, we hope that the families will remain strong and continue on with their lives,” he added.

He said Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Adenan Satem has also expressed his willingness to assist the families of victims.

“It will be just a matter of time until everything is settled as the bodies will only arrive in Malaysia within a period of one or two months due to security issues and certain procedures that need to be observed,” added Abang Johari.

Meanwhile, Abang Johari welcomed hundreds of visitors at his open house, which was held at the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka hall.

“We are not celebrating Hari Raya Aidilfitri like the previous years in respect to the victims of the tragedy,” he said.