Monday, January 02, 2012

Sabah tourism industry backs Sabah Air expansion plan

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s tourism industry is backing the state owned carrier’s plan to operate as a full fledged airline flying within East Malaysia and regional destinations.

Malaysian Association of Tours and Travel Agents Sabah chairman K.L. Tan said there was much potential for Sabah Air Aviation Sdn Bhd to operate profitably as an airline.

He said there were so many successful models that Sabah Air could study.

“Singapore Airlines is an example. In a tough operating environment of soaring fuel costs, it could still post a net profit of RM108mil,” Tan said yesterday.

He said Sabah Air’s airline plan would mean the state being less dependent on Malaysia Airlines to fly tourists here.

Sabah Air chairman Datuk Yusoff Kassim said on Friday that the company for the past three months had been mapping out a comprehensive strategy to begin a scheduled flight service within the state and nearby destinations.

The company would seek the Transport Ministry and Depart­ment of Civil Aviation approvals once the Sabah Air board gave its green light.

He said Sabah Air’s move was necessary due to some airlines ceasing flights from here to various regional destinations.

Malaysia Airlines had anno­unced it was suspending flights from Kota Kinabalu to Perth, Haneda, Osaka, Seoul from January as part of the carrier’s rationalisation plan.

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