Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Sabah government backs Sabah Air’s request for routes, landing rights

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Air Aviation Sdn Bhd’s request for the routes and landing rights forfeited by Malaysia Airline (MAS) has received the full support of State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun.

The state government, Masidi said, was ready to negotiate and make arrangements for another airline to take over these routes.

According to Masidi, he had personally written to the Transport Minister in November last year, to give notice to the state government so that it can request these routes and landing rights to be given to it upon cessation of MAS’ flight to these destinations.

The state government would then negotiate and make arrangement with another airline to take over these routes, he said adding, “I totally support Sabah Air’s stand on their request for the routes and landing rights forfeited by MAS to give to the local aviation company.

According to Masidi he had, during the Sabah Tourism Award event on November 19 last year, said that there was a need of another regional airline to serve the specific needs of Sabah and Sarawak.

“Tourism is one of the three major industries in Sabah and the only industry which involves and employs mainly locals. It is the industry that has the biggest potential to spur economic growth in Sabah.

“A Sabah/Sarawak designated regional airline is important to the development of the tourism industry because we are situated on an island and air connectivity is a crucial component of the travel industry.

“In the case of Sabah, over 94 percent of our tourists come to Sabah by air,” Masidi stressed.

He also pointed out that the state government has not been sitting idle with the impending announcement by MAS of the suspension and cancellation of some routes that would affect Sabah’s interests.

The government has had numerous meetings with the management of MAS trying to work out other options other than routes cancellation.

“A senior opposition leader claimed that even Tiger Air pulled out of Sabah as a result of MAS-Air Asia tie-up. Perhaps he needs to refresh his memory as Tiger Air stopped their service to KK (from Singapore) in October 2009, long before the current issue cropped up. Tiger Air made the decision for commercial reason as the BKI/SING route is a very competitive one,” he said.

Continue reading at: Sabah government backs Sabah Air’s request for routes, landing rights

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