Saturday, November 19, 2016

Malaysia Airlines opens Penang-Kuching direct flight route

KUCHING: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) celebrated its inaugural Penang-Kuching direct flight service with a festive ceremony at Kuching International Airport (KIA) yesterday.

Flight MH2724 was welcomed with cultural performances upon its maiden arrival from Penang.

A similar celebration also took place at Kota Kinabalu Airport for the inaugural Penang-Kota Kinabalu direct flight service.

Permanent secretary to the Ministry of Sarawak Tourism, Arts and Culture, Datu Ik Pahon Joyik pointed out that this long-awaited direct flight was a relief to the state’s air connectivity dilemma.

“As such, on behalf of the minister (Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg) and the government, we want to thank Malaysia Airlines and other industry players for their efforts in positioning Sarawak as a tourism destination,” he told reporters here.

Other than Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) which is the main hub, Ik Pahon hoped that Malaysia Airlines would also look into connecting towns and cities across Sarawak to other key cities in Peninsular Malaysia like Johor Baharu.

“We will work closely with Malaysia Airlines to ensure sustainability of the Penang-Kuching route, of which the initial planning was for seasonal flights to take advantage of the festive seasons and school holidays.

“But prior to discussion with Nicholas (Malaysia Airlines – Malaysia Commercial Division regional sales manager Nicholas Kong), we hope they could look beyond that and see how we could sustain and maintain this route,” he suggested.

“Penang is a very important hub,” Ik Pahon emphasised, adding: “It is the second busiest in Peninsular Malaysia after Kuala Lumpur, with a lot of international flights.

“So we want to leverage Penang as another hub where passengers can take direct flights to Kuching or other major hubs in Sarawak.”