Sunday, February 01, 2015

MASwings has what it takes to become regional carrier

KUCHING: Sarawak and Sabah are standing as one, as far as the potential of MASwings serving beyond East Malaysia is concerned.

Sarawak Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg believed that the community airline subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) would need to think beyond Sarawak and Sabah, should it want to take advantage of the growing economies across the East Asian region.

“MASwings has the potential to become a regional airline serving not only Sarawak and Sabah, but also the BIMP-EAGA (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines-East Asean Growth Area),” Abang Johari, who is also Housing Minister, said at the launch of MASwings’ ‘The New Beginning’ at Kuching Waterfront on Friday night.

The campaign is slated for enhancing its customer service via new initiatives.

The minister, however, stated that the state government was keeping a close watch on the carrier’s development, with all eyes on MAS’ ongoing major restructuring.

“Being a subsidiary of MAS, MASwings cannot make its own decision,” he said, pointing out that past restructuring exercises had put adverse impact on the state by way of termination of several international flight routes.

Nonetheless, Abang Johari called on the aviation industry to look into eco-tourism as the fastest growing segment of global tourism in which Sabah and Sarawak had been focusing heavily on, urging for more efforts into finding an alternative to air-link East Malaysia towards the capitalisation of this lucrative market.

“That’s why I agree with Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun (Sabah’s Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister) in taking a common position towards exposing Sarawak and Sabah to, as well as linking (the two states) with the international market.

“Perhaps, MAS stakeholders should look into the possibility of MASwings becoming Sabah and Sarawak regional airline, linking the two states with strategic hubs such as Hong Kong, Seoul, Bangkok, Singapore and Jakarta,” he added.