Saturday, February 24, 2007

Open Sky Only if Beneficial

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government will take all views into consideration before entering into an “open sky” agreement with specific countries.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy said it was the country’s policy to have such pacts with as many countries as it would enhance the position of KL International Airport.

“Air travel and air links are very crucial in trade and tourism, without them, you don’t talk about trade and tourism,” he said after witnessing a signing ceremony on a charter flight programme between Taiwan’s Far Eastern Air Transport and Sanbumi Air Transport Sdn Bhd.

He was commenting on a recent Malaysia Airlines Employees Union (Maseu) statement that the agreements could pose problems to Malaysia.

Maseu general-secretary Ab Malek Ariff had said that the pacts could place the country at great risk because any aircraft could declare itself a commercial craft and enter Malaysian airspace.

Chan lauded Sanbumi for having the programme with Far Eastern, saying that since Malaysia and Taiwan practised the “open sky” policy, there was a lot of room for development.

“This is a good partnership, I hope they will help to play an active role and contribute tremendously to the development of air travel and tourism in the country.

“When it comes to charter flights we are very flexible,” he said, adding that such partnerships with tour agencies were welcomed.

On another matter, Chan said the ministry and the Department of Civil Aviation would never compromised on safety aspects.

“Therefore, all airlines flying into the country must comply with standards outlined by the International Civil Aviation Organisation,” he said when asked of the safety procedures imposed on foreign low-cost carriers.

Source : STAR
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