KUCHING: A reception ceremony is being arranged for the inaugural arrival of Pontianak-Miri flight on Dec 12.
Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Lee Kim Shin said the flight, operated by an Indonesian airline, Xpress Air, is scheduled to arrive in Miri at 4pm.
A representative from Xpress Air, Indonesian Consul-General in Kuching Jahar Gultom and Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah are expected to attend and also speak at the reception ceremony.
“The inaugural flight will carry passengers, journalists and tour operators from Pontianak,” Lee told a press conference at his office here yesterday.
He said Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) had also arranged for a familiarization visits in and around Miri for the tour operators from Indonesia. A welcoming reception has also been arranged for the return flight to Pontianak later on the same day.
Lee believed the Miri-Pontianak-Miri flight would also cater for passengers from Brunei, including Indonesians who work in that country.
“It will cater for passengers comprising tourists and business travelers. With the availability of such a flight, it will be easier for business people from both countries to travel.
The same aircraft that flies from Miri to Pontianak also flies to Yogyakarta.
“Those who wish to fly to Yogyakarta can take the flight from Miri, which will transit in Pontianak before it proceeds to Yogyakarta,” he said.
Xpress Air, which has been operating in Sarawak for about four years now, with five flights a week from Kuching to Pontianak and vice-versa, would also be operating a direct flight from Kuching to Shenzhen (China) later this month.
With the cooperation from both sides, Lee hoped the Miri-Pontianak flight would not only be sustainable but would also be able to increase the flight frequency in the future.
Xpress Air head of international operations, Seran Velu, thanked the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture Youth and Sports for supporting them in their bid to operate the Miri-Pontianak flight from the beginning.
“Miri is the second city we will be flying directly to from Pontianak after Kuching. We will be operating two flights a week – on every Tuesday and Saturday.
“The flight will depart Pontianak at 1.25pm and will arrive in Miri at 4pm. The departure from Miri is 4.50pm and will arrive in Pontianak at 5.25pm local time,” he said.