KUCHING: Sarawak Transport Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin has urged AirAsia Bhd’s management to use aerobridges in all airports in Sarawak, except in airports where such facility is fully occupied.
Lee questioned why aerobridges are not used for AirAsia domestic flights, particularly in Sarawak, although such service is available for AirAsia passengers embarking and disembarking at the KLIA2 Airport and at airports outside the country.
He said that based on information from Malaysian Airports Holdings Berhad, the fees for use of the aerobridge at the four Airports in Sarawak is RM85 per usage.
He also said MAHB’s statistics show that the majority of Sarawakians fly on AirAsia, including at Kuching International Airport (KIA), where 60 per cent of 150 daily flight movements are carried out by AirAsia.
“There are passengers who told me that they do not even mind AirAsia add RM1 extra in their air tickets for using the aerobridge,” he said after meeting officials from AirAsia Bhd and MAHB at his office here yesterday.
Lee added that he also flew on AirAsia quite often, sometimes even going to overseas, such as to Singapore and China.
In recent months after being appointed as Sarawak Transport Minister, he revealed that a number of passengers who were on same flights with him directly requested him to appeal to the airline to use aerobridge for all its flights in Sarawak.
As such, he hoped that AirAsia will use the aerobridge for all AirAsia flights into Sarawak as soon as possible, adding that the current practise of using aircraft boarding staircases has caused inconvenience to passengers, especially during the wet weather whereby the aircraft boarding staircases may become slippery.
“People who are affected are the elderly, sick, people with disabilities and families travelling with young kids. It can give rise to safety problems for young kids as they may run around the airplane parking apron while going to the plane, especially the naughty ones, as some passengers commented,” he said.
On a related matter, Lee said his ministry will meet with MAHB soon on the need for expansion of the airport’s terminal buildings in Kuching and Miri
“Based on MAHB’s statistics, Kuching International Airport (KIA) alone recorded 5.6 million passengers in 2018, and 5.9 million in 2019 which exceeded the current capacity of the airport which is 5.3 million passengers.
“The number of passengers at Miri Airport recorded in 2018 was 2.3 million and 2.435 million in 2019, which also exceeded the airport’s capacity of 2 million passengers. There are on the average 110 flight movements in Miri daily,” he revealed.
Also present during the meeting were Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Transport Buckland Bangik, Assistant Secretary to the Ministry of Transport Zulkarnain Rosli, MAHB Senior Airport Manager Ir. Jun Iskandar Murshidi and Airasia Berhad Government Relations officer Juanita Suraya.