Wednesday, October 05, 2011

MASwings ‘clears the air’ on rural route, flight frequency issue in Sarawak

KUCHING: East Malaysian community airline MASwings Sdn Bhd (MASwings) has taken a stand to clarify certain issues pertaining to its serviced rural routes and flight frequencies.

The call was made in response to a media report quoting the Bintulu Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry as saying ‘current services are not up to expectation and that businesses in need of easy connectivity are feeling the effects of cancelled routes and reduced flight frequency’.

The association also claimed that in Bintulu, MASwings had cut down its flights to-and-from Kuching to only one daily, of which the return flight from the state capital was at 4.25pm with a transit in Sibu.

“We haven’t cancelled or revised any flight on our Kuching-Bintulu route. The fact about the one-per-day flight is not correct,” affirmed MASwings’ managing director Datuk Mohd Nawawi Awang in a telephone interview with The Borneo Post yesteday.

He added that since March last year, MASwings had been providing twice-daily return flights for its Kuching-Bintulu route. The additional flight, which flies between Kuching and Bintulu via Sibu, became fully operational in March this year.

“So, we actually have two-plus-one flights between Kuching and Bintulu – not just one as claimed.”

In the said media report, the Bintulu Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s president Datuk Sia Hiong Ngie stated that the chamber had received many complaints – both from the business community and public – about the increasingly poor air services, to which he added that the situation could get worse because of Malaysia Airlines – or MAS, MASwings’ parent holding – and AirAsia Bhd’s flight rationalisation exercise.

Sia even suggested a joint venture (JV) involving MASwings and other local aviation companies to handle routes in the state as well as to Brunei.

In response to this, Nawawi commented, “To reiterate, MASwings is a subsidiary of MAS and subject to governance under the ministry. Any decision to form a JV has to gain a ‘go-ahead’ approval from our top management, as well as from Ministry of Transport since we have the rural air services agreement with the government.

“We are striving towards meeting the needs of the community and submitting any operational proposals – including the formation of a JV as well as to mount additional flights – but it has to go through MAS as well as the government,” he explained.

Continue reading at: MASwings ‘clears the air’ on rural route, flight frequency issue in Sarawak

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