ASIAN Spirit has launched twice weekly services from Zamboanga, previously known as Western Mindanao, in the Philippines, to Sandakan in Malaysia. The frequency will be increased within the month to thrice weekly on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
The airline said the new service will enhance traffic movement within the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).
As Sandakan is not among the cities designated in the BIMP-EAGA memorandum of understanding to create an "open skies" environment, the Philippines has requested Malaysia to declare Sandakan as an additional entry point for air service. A recent BIMP-EAGA meeting added Manado and Tarakan in Indonesia, Labuan and Miri in Malaysia, and Puerto Princesa and General Santos City in the Philippines to the list of airports with fifth freedom traffic rights for passenger and cargo services.
Asian Spirit is the third airline to attempt to link Mindanao and Malaysia. Earlier services by South Phoenix Airways and Aero Mosphil did not prosper. Asian Spirit has requested Malaysian Airports to waive the airport tax, parking fees and landing charges at the Sandakan International Airport for the first two years of its operation.
The airline has also enhanced its Mindanao network by introducing thrice weekly flights each from Zamboanga to Jolo and to Tawi Tawi.
Source : TTG
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