KUCHING: The newly-introduced Jakarta-Kuching direct flight will enhance the role of Kuching as the hub connecting Sarawak and Sabah to Java island where Jakarta is their main gateway, said state Transport Minister Dato Sri Lee Kim Shin.
“With Kuching as the hub and connected to additional international destination like Jakarta, it will spur more connectivity from other major airports in Sarawak to Kuching airport.
“Improved connectivity between Jakarta and Kuching can lead to an increase in trade, tourism and investment between Indonesia and Sarawak,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Along with the expanded air connectivity from Kuching, he said there is an urgent need to improve aviation transportation infrastructure in Sarawak, including airport facilities and air traffic control systems.
He pointed out this would enhance the overall travel experience for passengers and support the growth of the aviation industry in the region.
“We urge all relevant stakeholders, government agencies, private sector, transport and tourism business players, investors, travel agents and individuals to take advantage of the flight connectivity to create more job and business opportunities, of which will sustain the aviation business,” he further said.
Lee was responding to the announcement by Indonesia AirAsia that the new route connecting Indonesia’s capital city Jakarta (CGK) and Kuching (KCH) will start on June 15 this year. He said his ministry has been discussing with several airlines including AirAsia to expand Sarawak’s air connectivity to major cities around the region including Indonesia, China, Thailand, Philippines, Hong Kong and Australia.
The introduction of the new Jakarta-Kuching route will create healthy competition among airlines operating in the region, which may result in more efficient services at more affordable cost to the passengers, he added.
“The launch of Jakarta to Kuching direct flight will definitely bring significant socioeconomic benefits to Sarawak especially in trade and tourism sectors. This is in line with the Sarawak government’s agenda to bring more tourists from Indonesia, both via air and land.
“The direct flight connection between Jakarta and Kuching will make it more comfortable and easier for Indonesian businessmen and tourists to come to Sarawak, and vice versa.”
According to Lee, both Sarawak and Indonesia, especially Kallimantan, have historical roots of socio-cultural connection.
“With direct connectivity to Jakarta, which is the main gateway to Indonesia, Sarawak could foster closer cultural connection and exchange with Indonesia. This can strengthen people-to-people ties and help to enhance regional cooperation,” he added.
AirAsia in a statement on May 4 said Jakarta is the second city in Asean to be connected with Sarawak by the low-cost airline. The other city is Singapore.
AirAsia also said promotional fares from as low as RM199 for a one-way flight are now available from its AirAsia application and website for this thrice-weekly flight taking place every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, where the promo would run from now until May 14 for trips between June 15 and Oct 29. According to a flight schedule included in the statement, the Jakarta-Kuching flight would depart at 7.30am and arrive in Kuching at 10.40am, while the return flight would depart at 11.10am and arrive in Jakarta at 12.20pm.
The Borneo Post