Wednesday, October 03, 2007

MASWings makes inaugural flight from Miri to Mulu

Photo shows the first MASWings Fokker 50 flight
arriving at Mulu Airport. - PHOTO: GEORGE FRANCIS

By George Francis

MULU - MASWings, a new subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines on Oct 1 took to the skies to serve Sabah and Sarawak. Its 30-minute inaugural flight from Miri to Mulu commenced at 9.20am, the first of 451 weekly flights to serve a network of 21 destinations in Sabah and Sarawak.

Deputy Transport Minister Malaysia, Datuk Douglas Uggah, MASWings chairman and Malaysia Airlines managing director/CEO Datuk Idris Jala and MASWings managing director Dr Amin Khan were among the first passengers onboard the Fokker 50 flight to Mulu.

They were later joined by the Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony of the aircraft bound for the next flight, Mulu to Miri was formalised by the Chief Minister who then inspected the interior of the aircraft.

Sarawak deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan and Tan Sri Alfred Jabu, as well Sarawak Tourism Minister Datuk Wong Soon Koh, Land Development Minister Datuk Dr James Masing and assistant minister, including CEO of Sarawak Tourism Board Gracie Geikie were also present at the event.

In Sabah, meanwhile, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman sent off passengers of MASWings' first flight in the state from Kota Kinabalu to Lahad Datu at 10am.

"We're delighted to take to the skies today, offering more frequency, better schedules and connectivity, and affordable fares to the communities in Sabah and Sarawak," Musa said.

Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said the policy of Rural Air Service operated in Sarawak since the era of Borneo Airways, started on Oct 1, 1972 as a cornerstone of air services for Sarawak rural destination that was continued on with the subsidy policy when Borneo Airways and Malaysian Airways were combined.

In conjunction with the launch, MASWings also announced its first community programme "Wings for Children". It is to provide a much-needed support to young patients and their families in rural areas - a free airlift for seriously ill infant and children below 12 years who require immediate medical attention.

Meanwhile, MASWings offers weekly frequencies of 168 Fokker 50 flights and 146 Twin Otter flights in Sarawak while for Sabah, 72 Fokker 50 flights and 9 Twin Otter flights are available. There will be 51 Fokker 50 flights and 5 Twin Otter flights between Sabah and Sarawak.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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