Sunday, November 1

SDMC: Full capacity restored for flights between West M’sia and Sarawak

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 The decision was made after taking into consideration various factors, namely the improvement of the Covid-19 situation in the state and the need to stimulate domestic economic growth. File Photo

KUCHING: Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) has decided to approve full flight capacity between Peninsular Malaysia to Sarawak and vice versa effective today (June 10).

Prior to this, the flying capacity allowed by SDMC was limited to 66.6 percent capacity.

Minister of Transport Datuk Lee Kim Shin said the decision was made after taking into consideration various factors, namely the improvement of the Covid-19 situation in the state, the need to stimulate domestic economic growth especially the tourism sector and to facilitate movement of goods and people for business, official and personal reasons.

“In order to help to accelerate domestic economic recovery, we hope that all airlines will resume their flight frequency like the situation before the imposition of Movement Control Order (MCO) due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This applies to both flights coming to and from Sarawak as well as flights within Sarawak. For this purpose, all airlines will need to officially apply to SDMC to increase their flight frequency to Sarawak and within Sarawak.

“Based on the information obtained from the airlines, the flight fares charged during MCO were very high, as highlighted by the public. For example, the flight fare from Kuala Lumpur to Kuching cost RM2,100 and from Kuala Lumpur to Miri, it cost RM2,366,” Lee said.

“With the increase in both flight capacity to 100 per cent and a high flight frequency, we hope that the airlines could cope with the current situation and therefore will be able to reduce flight fares to the rates they were before the imposition of MCO which are reasonable and acceptable to the public,” he told reporters after a special meeting with various airlines and the relevant agencies related to the aviation industry in the state.

The meeting held at Bangunan Baitulmakmur was to convey the approval of SDMC for full flight capacity in tandem with the decision of the Ministry of Transport, Malaysia and National Security Council.

Lee also said the meeting was also a platform to get feedback from the airlines on the huge increase in flight fares as highlighted by the public through social media.

Although inter-state travel has been aprroved, all agencies such as airport operators and airline operators must strictly follow the standard operating procedures (SOP) when interacting with passengers at the terminal and while inside the aircraft, he added.

These would include the screening of body temperature through thermal scanners or handheld infrared thermometers before entering the airport terminal, requirement of the usage of face masks by the crew and passengers, along with the use of hand sanitisers.

“We are very confident that all stakeholders involved, especially airport operators, airline operators and passengers will play their role and work together in complying with the SOP to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the state,” he said.