MIRI: The recent announcement made by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg of Sarawak having its own airline is described as a good idea
Mayor of Miri City Council Adam Yii supports the idea and describes the plan as apt in the desire to develop Sarawak’s tourism industry.
“I love to see Miri connected directly to Chengdu and Chongqing in China, Seoul and Pusan in Korea, Tokyo and Osaka in Japan, Taipei in Taiwan, Pontianak in Kalimantan (for the medical and educational potentials) as well as Sydney and Melbourne in Australia,” he said in a statement issued in conjunction with the cancelation of AirAsia’s direct flight between Shenzhen and Kuching.
Yii said he was very disappointed with the cancellation of the direct flight.
“It’s another setback for the local tourism industry.
“Notwithstanding the fact that it was reported that these flights had a passenger load of over 70 per cent, plus the incentives provided by Sarawak government, AirAsia still chooses to stop the direct flight.
“While profitability is certainly a consideration, it is also possible that other factors are at play, including the hope of obtaining better incentives from the Sarawak government.”
He said the situation highlighted the need for Sarawak to have its own airline, as all this while it had been at the mercy of ‘other airlines’ whose objectives were merely for short-term commercial consideration.
“The setting up of our own airlines will be challenging and risky. Unfortunately, this seems to be the only viable way forward insofar as our tourism industry is concerned.
“This is also in recognition that since we cannot depend on others to assist us, we just have to do it ourselves. But we would have to make sure that a competent management team is in place.”
Fortunately, he felt the setting up of an airline is no longer as daunting as before since there is a full range of airplanes of various passenger capacities and ranges are now readily available on leasing arrangement from the numerous plane leasing companies.
“The lease can be on dry lease basis – leasing the planes alone; or wet lease basis – leasing the planes plus the pilots and crew.
“Plane leasing will have the advantage of avoiding heavy upfront investments and any long-term commitments and liabilities. I’m sure all Mirians are with me to support the chief minister’s initiative to have our own airline. And we look forward to its realization in the near future.”