Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Philippines-based airline to start service from Sandakan, Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: An air link has been established between the Sabah east coast town of Sandakan and the southern Philippine city Zamboanga.

Philippines-based Mosphil Aero Inc is operating the service using a Russian made Antonov 24B aircraft from October.

The airline conducted a test flight from Zamboanga City to Sandakan on Aug 30.

Among those on board were Mosphil officials led by president Ibragim Sharifkulov and Zamboanga City government representatives.

They were received by Sandakan Municipal Council president Yeo Boon Hai and officials from the various government departments and representatives from local travel agencies.

Mosphil Aero will be operating a thrice-weekly flight between Zam-boanga City and Sandakan sfrom next month.

Yeo congratulated Ibragim for making the bold decision to consider Sandakan as his airline’s first East Asean Growth Area destination.

“We are very proud of his action in putting Sandakan on the world map, which I consider very timely as 2007 is already earmarked as “Visit Malaysia Year- Malaysia Welcomes the World,” he said.

Yeo said Sandakan, in fact has a very long history with Zamboanga especially in the Mindanao region which dates back to the 18th century.

Before the air service, the only transportation between the two places was by kumpit or ferry and the journey took more than 18 hours, he added.

He said Mosphil would initially use the Russsian made Antonov 24B which was quite similar to the normal Fokker F50. The flying time between Sandakan and Zamboanga City is only an hour and 10 minutes which is even nearer than traveling from Zamboanga City to Manila.

“I hope there will be more traders or tourists from the Mindanao region as well as other parts of the Philippines using Sandakan as the gateway to the rest of the world,” Yeo said.

Source: The Star

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