Saturday, February 04, 2012

MASwings may operate long haul aircraft

KOTA KINABALU: If the expansion of MASwings’ services is successful, there is a need for the federal government to seriously consider allowing MASwings to operate jet aircraft that can fly longer.

Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Masidi Manjun said this during the MASwings Brunei Nite here on Thursday.

He said with the inaugural flight to Bandar Seri Begawan on Feb 1, there is hope that people from Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) could travel easier by air.

He said it could be a medium to strengthen relationships among the people in the BIMP-EAGA region.

When asked on MASwings’ new route, he said it would be good based on the marketing plan done by the airline.

He said when an airline starts a new destination, it must be complemented with a good marketing strategy and he assumes that MASwings was ready with their marketing plan when they decided to fly to Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei.

“With a smaller aircraft, MASwings could probably land on smaller airfields in future. Now the flight is only from Kota Kinabalu-Bandar Seri Begawan-Kota Kinabalu, but perhaps in the future, if there is demand to land at the other parts of the state, they can do it.

“It is not a short term effort. If we are talking about passenger load and benefit, I think we have to look medium and long term,” he said.

Commenting on MASwings’ confidence on the Kota Kinabalu-Bandar Seri Begawan route compared to that of Kuching-Bandar Seri Begawan, Masidi said the important thing was to look at the spin-offs that could benefit both regions.

“It is not the issue of more Bruneians or Sabahans coming here and there, it is more on the amount of money that is being spent at the respective regions. The spin-off is the benefit,” he said.

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