WELL Firefly’s exit from Sarawak has already started to hurt the State’s tourism industry and economy.
Thanks AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines (MAS) for your ‘brilliant’ (ir)rationalisation exercise and share swap deal.
All because Firefly is no longer allowed to run jet services — as in its Boeing 737-800 flights from KLIA to Kuching and Sibu — Sarawak has lost a whopping 4,000 Korean golfers.
These high-end travellers of sports tourism from South Korea have instead opted to go to Johor.
You see Firefly can still fly its propeller services and runs from Subang to Johor Bahru three times a day. Yes, three times a day!
Not that Sarawak did not try its very best to secure these very likely high-spending 4,000 sports tourists.
Deputy Minister of Tourism Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit, no less, actually tried to get Firefly to provide charter flights for the group between December and February. However, the airline refused — probably because the (ir)rationalisation exercise prevents it from operating planes to our shores.
What happened was some 6,000 golfers from South Korea wanted to spend their golf holidays in Sarawak. Due to the state’s poor air connectivity, we lost the bulk of this group — 4,000 of them to Johor.
Only around 2,500 will get the opportunity to spend their hard-earned cash in Sarawak.
No wonder Datuk Dr Dawos is furious!
Imagine how many Sarawakians have lost out because of this — the tour guides, bus drivers, hotels and their workers, eateries and their workers, tourist shops, handicraft-makers …
Even if you are not directly involved in the industry, you are probably related to someone who is or have friends working in some area that would have benefited from this huge group of South Korean visitors.
We need to act fast to stop more such loses in future because the two national airlines do not seem to care that there is so much more to Malaysia than Malaya.
The report from The Borneo Post
Deputy Ministers sees red over ‘unfriendly’ Firefly
By Zoee Hilson
KUCHING: The termination of Firefly service to Sarawak has caused the state to lose about 4,000 visiting Korean golfers to Johor.
Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Dr James Dawos expressed his huge disappointment with the airline for their refusal to provide charter flights for the golfers to Sarawak for their golf holidays between December and February.
“More than 5,000 Korean golfers actually wanted to come and play in Kuching but because of the problems with the flights, only 2,500 will come and another 4,000 will go to Johor,” he said yesterday after a press conference held at Sarawak Club on the reconstruction of James Brooke cottage at Mount Serembu.
Dawos added that he contacted Firefly to discuss the possibilities of providing charter flights for the golfers but the airline declined to do so.
“So what is Firefly to us? I have been indignant with what Firefly has been doing,” he stressed.
He also claimed that local travel agents who had made arrangements for their clients to come to the state using Firefly via Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru have not been compensated by the airline.
“When the flights were cancelled and our travel agents requested for a refund, they said ‘ no, give us three months to do so’. What kind of airline is this?” he complained.
Dawos therefore urged the state government to continue their talks with the federal government to have direct flights to the state.
According to reports on Wednesday, MAS Group CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said Firefly jets will be taken over by MAS and redeployed into MAS’ operations by Dec 4 for its short-haul premium full-service offering.
“The takeover of jet services is an important part of MAS group’s business realignment and is prompted by the need to address network and fleet restructuring plans for short-haul jet services,” he said in a statement.
The airline’s Johor-Kuching route was scraped on Sept 15 while Kuala Lumpur-Kuching tickets will not be sold after Oct 31.