KUCHING (March 16): The State Department of Transportation is actively engaging with airline industry players to ensure they move together towards greater international, regional and domestic air connectivity to and from Sarawak in the future, said his minister Dato Sri Lee Kim Shin.
“A synergistic collaboration between airlines and government can be a catalyst to create more economic growth and development.
“All airlines, namely Firefly, MasWings, Malaysia Airlines and Malindo, have indicated their commitment and support in the development of the airline industry in Sarawak. They observed that Sarawak has great potential in terms of growth in tourism and business travel as well as air cargo service. Sarawak is also strategically located in the BIMP-Eaga region,” he said in a statement today.
A delegation from Malaysia Airlines Group Bhd (MAB) and Malindo Airways of Lion Air Group recently paid a courtesy visit to Lee at his Bangunan Baitulmakmur office in Petra Jaya here.
On March 14, the first delegation was from the MAB Group, led by Firefly Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Phillip See, who was accompanied by Maswings Director of Operations, Captain Nasaruddin Abu Bakar and MAB Sarawak’s Director of Government Relations. , AKA Suut.
The second delegation was from Malindo Airways on March 15, led by Malindo’s CEO, Captain Mushafiz Mustafa Bakri, accompanied by Malindo’s Director of Public Relations and Government Affairs, Raja Sa’adi Raja Amrin.
The main purpose of their courtesy visit was to establish close and strong relations with the Ministry of Transport in particular and the Government of Sarawak in general.
They also wanted to know the potential growth of the airline industry in relation to Sarawak’s development to 2030.
See also mentioned that they would consider having a direct flight from Penang to Miri and vice versa in the coming months, especially when the border between the countries starts to reopen.
Currently, Firefly has been approved by the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) to operate seven flights a week on the Penang-Kuching route and will begin its maiden flight on April 11.
Captain Nasaruddin pointed out that MasWings had increased its flight frequency between Miri and Lawas from four times a day to eight times a day from last month. The approval was given by the Malaysian Ministry of Transport and the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) as Rural Air Services (RAS) are subject to Public Service Obligations (PSOs).
Captain Mushafiz mentioned that Malindo is a full service airline and they also offer business class seats for business passengers and also rebranded their airline as Batik Air Malaysia. The airline will work with Batik Air Indonesia as part of the Lion Air group.
Captain Mushafiz also mentioned Malindo Airways’ commitment to supporting Sarawak in building air connectivity, especially with the opening of Nusantara, the new capital of Indonesia on the other side of the island of Borneo. in Samarinda, Kalimantan.
Airlines have also been made aware of the potential of the oil and gas sector in Sarawak, and Shell Malaysia will move its upstream business headquarters and 2,000 employees across Malaysia to Miri.
In addition, Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros) will also start operations in Miri. With this in hand, it is timely for airlines to strategize and plan their flight connectivity to Miri City.
The ministry’s permanent secretary, Datu Buckland Bangik, was also present with Lee during the courtesy visits.