Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Sarawak seeks more direct air links with foreign cities

KUCHING: Sarawak has called for more direct international links between the state and other cities following the official opening of the upgraded Kuching International Airport.

Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said the airport was renovated at a cost of RM500mil to expand its flight and passenger capacity, which in turn would boost the state’s tourism industry.

“The airport can now handle 2,200 passengers per hour. This increased capacity will help us achieve our target of two million to 2.5 million tourist arrivals this year, especially when Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia have worked out the division of routes to the state,” he said at the opening by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi yesterday.

Taib called on the airlines to develop Sarawak’s air links with other cities, such as Perth, so that the state could attract more visitors from overseas.

“As the main gateway into Sarawak, the Kuching International Airport should have more direct links with international destinations.

“This is our aim and we hope the Transport Ministry will support us and help us fill the airport to its full capacity of 5.3 million passengers annually by 2010.”

Taib said the state was willing to work with airlines and other private sector companies to promote Sarawak as a tourist destination.

“We hope the airlines will cooperate with us, perhaps by taking our cultural troupes on promotional trips overseas.”

Source: The Star

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