KUCHING: MASwings has been asked to work with tour operators to improve the load for flights to Mulu.
Assistant Minister for Tourism Datuk Lee Kim Shin said the average load from Kuching, Miri and Kota Kinabalu to Mulu is only about 30 per cent.
He said this was contrary to feedback from local tour operators that they had difficulty getting tickets for flights to Mulu due to limited seats.
“I went through MASwings’ record to Mulu just now, not only from Miri, but also Kuching and Kota Kinabalu and found out that there is still opportunity for growth for the load factor,” he told a press conference following a courtesy call from MASwings chief executive officer Capt Izham Ismail and senior manager Karen Leiking from the MAS group chief executive officer’s office yesterday.
MASwings’ ATR aircraft currently flies once a day from Kuching to Mulu and Kota Kinabalu to Mulu, as well as twice daily from Miri to Mulu.
“I will arrange for a meeting between tour operators, especially in Miri with the chief executive officer, to discuss how they can work together to come up with a package together with the Miri-Mulu flight.
“Perhaps MASwings needs to review the whole thing such as the airfare. Of course, they are facing problems with low passenger load and the losses they are incurring, but I think we need to work out on how the industry and MASwings can support each other so that we can improve the load factor,” he said.
Using the Kuching-Mulu sector as example, Lee suggested MASwings reschedule the flight to cater to tourists from the Hong Kong to Kuching direct flight.
“Now we have Hong Kong-Kuching direct flight. So if our tourists coming in from Hong Kong can to go Mulu, they can have a better connectivity. They can come to Kuching and then from Kuching to Mulu,” he said.
Lee called on all stakeholders in the tourism industry such as airlines, tour operators and hoteliers to work as a team.
“We must make sure all our ground preparations are ready before we bring in the tourists. Once we bring in the tourists, we should be able to provide good ground support. If not, it will affect the image of our tourism industry,” he said.