Sarawak Transport Ministry eyes collab with AirAsia to enhance int’l connectivity

Posted on 02 Jul 2024
Source of News: Borneo Post Online

KUCHING (June 25): The Sarawak Ministry of Transport (MOT) has expressed interest in cooperating with AirAsia to enhance Sarawak’s international connectivity.

Its Minister Dato Sri Lee Kim Shin said the potential routes explored include flights to Perth in Australia and Guangzhou in China.

Additionally, he said another potential route is to Balikpapan in Kalimantan Barat, Indonesia, since Pontianak Airport is not yet open for international flights.

Lee also recommended that AirAsia increases Kuching-Miri flights due to high demand.

“The Ministry of Transport, Sarawak believes that with active engagement with the airlines, it will develop better cooperation in solving air mobility issues, passenger experience and thus increase the sustainability of people and goods movement in Sarawak.

“Most importantly, we move together in developing the aviation industry in Sarawak towards a resilient, sustainable, and competitive industry,” he said In a statement issued by the ministry today,

The statement was issued following a courtesy call from AirAsia, led by its deputy group chief executive officer Datuk Capt Chester Voo at Bangunan Baitul Makmur I, Petra Jaya here yesterday.

Also present were AirAsia Government Relations representatives in Sarawak, including Hamdan Mohamad, Aziza Ariffin and Allaister Vyner.

During the meeting, Voo briefed the minister on AirAsia’s operations in Sarawak, highlighting their evolution into an investment holding company with a portfolio focused on travel and digital ventures.

He also informed that AirAsia commands a leading market share nationally with 32 million passengers in 2023.

Specifically for Sarawak, they operate 334 weekly flights, including 193 from Peninsular Malaysia, 47 from Kota Kinabalu, 19 from Singapore, and Jakarta. Regional connectivity within Sarawak includes 34 weekly flights between Kuching and Sibu, 22 between Kuching and Bintulu, and 33 between Kuching and Miri.

Since 2002, AirAsia has transported approximately 74 million passengers to and from Sarawak. The airline currently employs 757 personnel and maintains five of their A320 aircraft stationed in Sarawak

An innovative proposal discussed during the meeting was the integration of drone technology for rural logistics in Sarawak, which could potentially offer cost savings compared to traditional aircraft operations.

“A further detailed briefing on Airasia cargo drone operations and Proof of Concept (POC) will be done at a later date to the Ministry,” added the statement.

Accompanying Lee during the meeting were MOT’s newly appointed permanent secretary Datu Wong Hee Sieng, along with the Ministry’s Head of Aviation Division Zulkarnain Rosli and Special Officer Mohammad Faez.


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Last Updated On 19 Jul 2024

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