Tuesday, August 14, 2007

MASWings set to boost tourism from 1 October 2007

Malaysia Airlines' subsidiary MASWings is on track to take to the skies on Oct 1 as scheduled.

It expects to be fully operational by Dec 1, when the new rural service airline will have a fleet of 13 aircraft, providing almost 200 flights a week in Sabah and Sarawak.

MAS managing director Datuk Idris Jala said the new airline would initially operate four Fokker 50 and four Twin Otter aircraft.

This will be increased to seven Fokker 50 and five Twin Otter aircraft from Oct 28.

By Dec 1, MASWings will have a fleet of eight Fokker 50 and five Twin Otter aircraft serving a network of 23 destinations in Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan.

Tour of duty: Idris (left) presenting a model of a Fokker 50 aircraft with the MASWings livery to Taib after the briefing in Kuching yesterday. Looking on is Wong.
It will have 13 Fokker 50 and 80 Twin Otter flights weekly by Dec 1.

“We’ll be bringing back a lot of the old routes and frequencies that we used to have.

“I think that will be very good for local travel within Sabah and Sarawak,” Idris told reporters after briefing Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud on MASWings here yesterday.

Idris said MAS took over full maintenance of the aircraft on Aug 1 and restoration work had begun.

He said all preparatory work was on schedule and the airline would be ready to take over turboprop operations from FlyAsianXpress (FAX) on Oct 1.

“We are doing everything we can to make sure the aircraft are in safe and reliable condition and we should be able to bring back on-time performances to the levels that they were when we were running (the rural air services) before,” he said.

State Urban Development and Tourism Minister Datuk Wong Soon Koh, who was at the briefing, said the handover of rural air services to MASWings would be a boost to Sarawak’s tourism industry.

“We have been suffering, but with MASWings taking over I’m confident our tourism industry will grow from strength to strength,” he said.

Taib will launch MASWings in Mulu on Oct 1.

MASWings flights are now open for booking through the MAS call centre at 1-300-88-3000.

Source : STAR
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