KUCHING (June 15): The new AirAsia Jakarta-Kuching direct flight will open more opportunities in tourism as well as trade and investment, said Transport Minister Dato Sri Lee Kim Shin.
With the new route, Jakarta is the third city in Asean to be directly connected to Sarawak, after Singapore and Bandar Seri Begawan.
“With this new Jakarta-Kuching flight, Sarawak will have 44 international flights weekly from Jakarta, Singapore, and Brunei Darussalam,” Lee told a press conference after welcoming passengers on the inaugural Jakarta-Kuching flight at the Kuching International Airport today.
The weekly international flights are 30 for Kuching International Airport, 10 for Miri Airport, and four for Sibu Airport.
These international routes are served by AirAsia, AirAsia-Jakarta, Malaysia Airlines Bhd, Scoot, and Royal Brunei Airlines.
“The Ministry of Transport Sarawak believes that the opening of this air route has great potential, not only in terms of tourism but also in trade, commerce, investment, cultural heritage, social relations, and economic prosperity between the two neighbouring countries,” Lee said.
“We commend AirAsia for taking the initiative to create a strategic framework to revitalise the travel industry and play an integral part in achieving this outcome.”
He stressed the air route gives important access and is a precursor to wider connectivity to other parts of Indonesia, especially with the establishment of Indonesia’s new administrative capital Nusantara in East Kalimantan.
Meanwhile, Lee said his ministry fully supports AirAsia to push for the resumption of its Kuching-Pontianak-Kuching route.
“I have personally spoken to the Consul-General of Indonesia in Kuching, it is still pending approval from the Ministry of Transport Indonesia,” Lee said.
“I would like to remind all industry stakeholders that it is our joint responsibility to promote Sarawak in strategic markets like Indonesia.
“We sincerely hope to continue working strategically with all stakeholders, especially the airline sector, to not only boost tourism but also provide connectivity, employment, and ongoing spill-over effects along the supply chain.”