SIBU: AirAsia may resume its Sibu-Kota Kinabalu (KK) flight as the low-cost carrier is said to be keen in servicing the route again.
AirAsia discontinued the route in August 2009 after operating for four months, as MASwings had been given exclusive rights by the government to service the rural air routes.
Following that, there had been numerous calls from tourism players here for the flight to resume with the Sibu Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI) being the latest to jump into the bandwagon.
Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said he had been informed that AirAsia was interested in taking up the Sibu-KK route.
“I was also informed that AirAsia had written to the Ministry of Transport and Malaysia Aviation Commission for the greenlight to fly that route and is awaiting their reply,” he told The Borneo Post when contacted yesterday.
Abdul Karim, who is Asajaya assemblyman, said this when asked if his ministry would be studying into the call by SCCCI for the Sibu-KK route to be served by jetliner as MASwings’ limited capacity could affect trade and tourist arrivals.
On this, Abdul Karim said: “Yes…My ministry is supportive of any upgrading of airline service which could increase tourist flow into Sarawak.”
SCCCI president Dr Hii Sui Cheng had called on the government to consider the Sibu-KK air route as a major commercial sector when met at Assistant Minister of Education and Technological Research Dr Annuar Rapaee’s Hari Raya open house here recently. Dr Hii added that the business communities wanted AirAsia to fly the Sibu-KK direct route.
He disclosed that the Chinese and Bumiputera business communities had sent a joint letter to Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg in May this year to request for this commercial sector be serviced by a jetliner. He said based on a survey it conducted, there was 100 per cent support from Sibu business community for a jetliner running the route between Sibu and KK.
Sarawak Central Region Hotel Association chairman Johnny Wong Sie Lee said a larger aircraft would attract more visitors to travel from KK to Sibu. He said some tourists would travel in big groups and want to visit Sibu. But sadly, they had to shelf their plan due to smaller aircraft operated by MASwings, Wong said.
“That is why Sibu-KK route needs to be serviced by AirAsia. All the time Sibu folk have been requesting for this,” he added. -TheBorneoPost