Monday, February 12, 2007

Air Asia to boost air links via Kuching

KUCHING: The Sarawak government and AirAsia are working closely to improve air connectivity here via the low-cost carrier’s Kuching hub.

AirAsia deputy chief executive Datuk Kamarudin Meranun said the airline was looking at ways and means of adding more domestic and regional flights to Sarawak.

“We are hoping to get permission to fly to Brunei from here in the next two or three months,” he told a press conference at the launch of AirAsia’s inaugural Kuching-Penang flight at Kuching International Airport on Wednesday.

However, he said that landing rights for regional destinations such as Indonesia and Singapore were subject to bilateral arrangements.

“The airline and government are working hard to turn Sarawak into a budget carrier hub in Borneo. This will indirectly promote tourism here.”

Kamarudin also said AirAsia was considering the Kuching-Bangkok route, which was likely be operated by its Thai affiliate.

“Travellers' profiles out of Bangkok fit what Sarawak has to offer, so we are looking at how we can attract them here as an extension to their holidays,” he said.

State Urban Development and Tourism Minister Datuk Wong Soon Koh, who launched the flight, said good air links were a boost for Sarawak's tourism potential.

“Kuching as a hub for AirAsia is important to us. It will open the window to Sarawak,” he said.

He said to improve air connectivity, the Sarawak government has proposed to Malaysia Airlines that it have one or two of its daily flights from Taipei, Hong Kong, Busan, Guangzhou and Shenzhen to stop in either Kuching or Miri.

He later handed some souvenirs to the 100 passengers on the inaugural flight to Penang, which departed at 5.35pm.

AirAsia will operate four flights weekly to Penang from Kuching and Kota Kinabalu respectively.

Source : STAR
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