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Borneo, Kuching, Sabah, Sarawak, Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE), Sarawak Economy, Sarawak Tourism, Sarawakian

MASwings begins BIMP-EAGA flights from Sarawak and Sabah

Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop (centre) witnesses the inaugural departure of a MASwings flight from the Kota Kinabalu International Airport. With him are Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Bolkiah Ismail (3rd from right), MAS Group chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya (right) and MASwings managing director Datuk Capt Mohd Nawawi Awang (left). - Pix Edmund Samunting, NST

WELL MASwings began flying from Kuching to Bandar Seri Begawan (BSB) in Brunei yesterday.

It will fly the route three times a week using the ATR 72-500.

MASwings is currently offering introductory fares of RM233 one way and RM480 return to fly from Kuching to BSB for a travel period of up to April 30.

This new route is part of the airline’s regional services from Sarawak and Sabah to the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).

It will also operate one flight daily between Kuching and Pontianak, Kalimantan Barat from next Monday (February 6).

In Sabah, the airline flies from Kota Kinabalu to Bandar Seri Begawan twice daily, and from February 13, it will fly from Tawau to Tarakan, Indonesia.

You can check out the offers for the new routes here.

Minister in the Prime Miniser’s Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop said MASwing’s expansion to the sub-region would result in more economic growth opportunities and new markets to the two states in diverse economic sectors, particularly in tourism, medical, education, agriculture, trade and investment.

The new flights augur well for the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE), as tourism is one of its 10 priority industries.

Indeed having better regional connectivity will have a positive impact on not just Sarawak’s tourism industry, but also improve opportunities for business.

It will also make it easier for Sarawakians and Sabahans to travel within the region and to get connecting flights from, for example, BSB to other international destinations.

Just in case you didn’t know, Royal Brunei currently flies to Auckland, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth, Sunshine Coast, London, Manila, Bangkok, Phuket, Dubai, Ho Chi Minh, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Jakarta, Surabaya, Jeddah and Sharjah.

Let’s also not forget that the governments of Sarawak and Sabah will become major shareholders of MASwings as it transforms into a regional airline this year. (See my post in November — Sarawak and Sabah to be major shareholders of MASwings.)

All these new developments would hopefully mean that Sarawakians and Sabahans are no longer at the mercy of the airline management teams based in Malaya, who have consistently proven that they have little consideration for the needs of the people in East Malaysia.

The New Straits Times report:

MASwings’ BIMP-EAGA flights won’t affect Sabah, Sarawak ops

KOTA KINABALU: MASwings’ move to fly to destinations in the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) will not in any way affect its obligation to serve interior areas in Sabah and Sarawak, Minister in the Prime Miniser’s Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop said today.

Instead, the airlines’ expansion to the sub-region would result in more economic growth opportunities and new markets to the two states in diverse economic sectors, particularly in tourism, medical, education, agriculture, trade and investment, he said.

Previously, MASwings, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines (MAS)was only operating within Sabah and Sarawak.

“MASwings’ business growth and a new market in BIMP-EAGA promises higher revenue to the airline besides contributing to MASwings’ lower operational costs,” he told a media conference to mark MASwings inaugural flight from Kota Kinabalu to Bandar Seri Begawan today at Kota Kinabalu International Airport.

Under proposed plans, MASwings is to start flying to Bandar Seri Begawan from Kota Kinabalu twice daily and from Kuching to Bandar Seri Begawan thrice weekly from today, he said.

It will operate one flight daily between Kuching and Pontianak (Indonesia) from Feb 6 and from Tawau to Tarakan (Indonesia) beginning Feb 13.

Nor Mohamed said MASWings was the first Malaysian aviation company to link the “designated points” under the memorandum of understanding signed on Jan 12, 2007 by the governments of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines for air route expansion to the sub-region.

He said MASwings’ extension to BIMP-EAGA not only provided the keenly-awaited air link within destinations in the sub-region but also fulfilled the corporate social responsibility requirement to forge mutual friendship and goodwill among the people in the BIMP-EAGA member countries.

“MASwings’ flights to provinces under BIMP-EAGA will provide the impetus and serve as a catalyst for the provinces’ socio-economic growth,” he said.

Stressing that MASwings’ decision to expand to BIMP-EAGA was something to be proud of, the minister urged the governments of member states to emulate the Malaysian Government’s move to rope in the private sector to explore the potentials available at the growth triangle.

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