Friday, January 13, 2012

Sabah Air told to start with chartered flights

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Air can start with chartered flights or engage strategic partners prior to running a full-fledged airline due to the complexity involved.

Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun suggested that Sabah Air should begin with chartered flights as it was an easier alternative to get the feel on how to run an airline.

His second suggestion, that is to engage strategic partners, will allow the company to run the airline with people with expertise.

Masidi was commenting on Sabah Air chairman Datuk Yusoff Mohd Kasim’s recent announcement that Sabah Air was looking at serving regional routes such as to Korea, Japan and Australia.

“Although it is a good concept, the process is complicated, starting with buying or leasing an aircraft.

“Buying an aircraft is not easy because there are only a few manufacturers in the world – Airbus and Boeing, and the waiting period is five years,” he said in an interview after officiating at a book launch here yesterday.

In addition, he said most leased aircraft were used ones.

Masidi also cautioned Sabah Air that there were more airlines losing money than making a profit worldwide.

For instance, airlines who do make money include Singapore Airlines while those expanding at a very fast rate are Middle Eastern companies such as Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Etihad Airways, he said.

The minister meanwhile welcomed Malaysia Airlines (MAS) to have another discussion and find a better solution rather than cutting routes.

“I believe tentatively that they have read all the comments in the paper and they are disturbed with the reaction from Sabahans.

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