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Thursday, May 8, 2008

More airlines coming to Sarawak

THE Ministry of Urban Development and Tourism is working closely with various tourism stakeholders including federal government agencies to bring in more foreign airlines, including Tiger Airways, to Sarawak.

Assistant Minister of Tourism Hamden Ahmad said the success of the effort would depend on various factors such as market and tourist profile, product viability and destination competitiveness.

“Other perspectives from a broad spectrum of enterprises of both domestic and international tourism are also taken into consideration before any foreign airline can be invited to fly into Sarawak,” he said.

Hamden said during a meeting between the ministry and Tiger Airways two years ago, its chief executive officer (CEO) Tony Davis had indicated strong interest to get the airline to fly to Kuching.

“The airline is ever ready to start services, with four flights weekly if the load is sufficient. They will not hesitate to fly daily into Sarawak, if Tiger Airways deemed it profitable. However the airline must first get the approval from the Ministry of Transport.

This move would be reviewed once the Asean Open Sky Policy comes into effect January next year.

Last November, the Ministry of Transport granted approval on the long-awaited liberalisation of the lucrative Singapore-Kuala Lumpur route.

The ministry formally gave AirAsia permission to commence flying the route twice daily, and Malaysia will also allow two flights per day by Tiger Airways into Kuala Lumpur.

This was done ahead of the mandatory date set out by Asean Open Sky Policy as the move was seen to benefit in positioning Kuala Lumpur as the region’s leading low-cost carrier hub.

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