Thursday, May 19, 2011

Foreign airlines can operate charter flights to increase air accessibilty into Sarawak

KUCHING: Foreign airlines can operate charter flights into Sarawak without disrupting their regular scheduled services to increase air accessibility, once the Kuching International Airport (KIA) starts operating from round-the-clock tomorrow, Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) chief executive officer Datuk Rashid Khan said today.

He said there were many airlines, especially in north Asia, whose aircrafts were actually lying idle and which could be used for charter flights to bring in foreign tourists as the KIA’s extended runway can now accommodate wide bodied aircraft, including the Boeing 737 and Airbus A380.

“It is an opportunity for us to be more savvy in marketing the KIA because doing so is also about tourism,” he told reporters here, after welcoming the Firefly inaugural flight for the Johor Bahru-Kuching sector with 118 passengers on board.

Last week, Sarawak Tourism and Heritage Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said the state’s tourism stakeholders wanted to work closely with Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and other airlines on air accessibility to certain selected destinations, following the KIA’s new runway extension, which was completed last year.

Rashid said STB, the ministry’s marketing arm, was looking at holding a promotional event to showcase the KIA and the state’s tourism products with chief executives and chief commercial officers of airlines being invited here sometime in October this year.

He was confident that they would be convinced by what Sarawak has to offer in coming and seeing for themselves the infrastructure available as well as its product experience, especially in nature and adventure.


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