Wednesday, December 14, 2011

MASwings can benefit from ‘link-ups’ with private sector

KUCHING: MASwings Sdn Bhd (MASwings) should explore ‘link-up’ opportunities with the private sector in the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-the Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) region.

Industry sources observed that the recent annoucements that MASWings was gearing itself to venture into the BIMP-EAGA routes as early as February 2012 would be far more successful if the rural service airline paid attention to further ‘tie-ups’ with third parties.

They explained that for long-term sustainability, a common package among the destinations in the regions should be established, and that required the involvement of the private sector in all fields such as travel agencies, hotel associations and so on.

“When common packages are in place, only then can joint promotion and marketing strategies be explored between the region. In order to retain viable routes, study as well as research should be done within the private sector too,” BIMP-EAGA Tourism Council Malaysia chairman Datuk Wee Hong Seng told The Borneo Post.

He further pointed out that tourism is a private sector driven initiative. “The private sector plays a vital role in contributing to the country’s economy and also helps to maintain the sustainability of the airline industry.”

“Within the BIMP-EAGA region, there is a massive population base of more than 60 million, covering an area of 1.56 million square kilometres. Considering the vast tracks of unexplored routes, it augurs well for the region to ?et cracking?and connect the dots,” he stressed.

Within the region, there existed a memorandum of understanding on ‘Expansion of Air Linkages’ between the governments of BIMP-EAGA, which was signed back in January 2007. It granted the Fifth Freedom Traffic Right (FFTR) airports in the EAGA countries to cater for EAGA carriers.

The FFTR arrangements allowed an air carrier of one EAGA member country to pick up traffic in the territory of the other EAGA member country and carry it to a third EAGA member country as part of the service to/from the home country of the operating carrier.

“Technically the MoU should propel BIMP-EAGA air services into a whole new scenario – an ‘open sky’ era, however that has not yet materialised. With the support given from the region, MASwings should be able to create a niche in the hotly contested air routes competition provided it takes into account other private sector participation startegies,” said Wee.

Currently, MASwings owns 10 ATR 72-500s and four DHC-6 Twin Otters. It was required to acquire at least four jetliners in order to fulfill the requirement of being a regional airline. Speculations were rife that MASwings may be acquiring the 737-800s aircraft from one of its sister companies Firefly under MAS.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: MASwings can benefit from ‘link-ups’ with private sector

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