The airline recently launched its regional services to Brunei and Pontianak, West Kalimantan.
Tomorrow, MASwings will begin flying to its third international destination – Tarakan, East Kalimantan.
Well, Nunukan does not want to be left out. Apparently the local municipal council known as BUPATI is interested to get the airline and has, on its own accord, extended the island’s airport runway from 1,200 metres to 1,850 metres.
This is to accommodate MASwing’s ATR aircraft.
Now why should Sarawakians be interested in this? Well the possibility will give greater connectivity to the the region and also to the State.
Let’s not forget that one of the priority industries for the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) is tourism.
Thanks to MASwing’s expanding regional services, things look very positive for new markets to open up to the State.
Now we just need those involved in the tourism industry, such as the Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) and local industry players, to come up with packages to woo tourists from the region. The possibilities are endless.
The Bernama report:
Bupati Keen On MASwings Flying To Nunukan, Indonesia
KOTA KINABALU, Feb 9 (Bernama) — Come February 13, MASwings will be spreading its wings the third international destination of Tarakan, after its inaugural flights to Brunei Darulsalam and Pontianak, Indonesia on Feb 1.
Even before the flight has yet to commence to Tarakan, the Indonesian border town of Nunukan has already begun its public acceptance of MASwings.
According to BIMP-EAGA Business Council (Sabah Chapter) chairman, Roselan Johar Mohamed, the BUPATI or local municipal council of Nunukan has expressed interest to invite MASwings to consider flying to Nunukan even though it is in close proximity to Tawau.
“Without being asked, the runway at Nunukan was being extended from 1,200m to 1,850m and is considered enough for the ATR aircraft of MASwings.
“It is expected to be ready before the end of the year. The local council of Nunukan is so confident that MASwings will have a full-load out of Nunukan.
They even pledged that the transit time shall be less than 30 minutes,” he told Bernama, here today.
Roselan said MASwings had projected a significant image of Malaysia in wanting to increase the mobility across border destinations.
“This in itself will fulfill Malaysia’s obligation in pursuing greater connectivity as one of the pillars of BIMP-EAGA.
“Easy connectivity and mobility will increase trade and tourism and necessarily more investments. The combination of these factors will greatly narrow the development gaps amongst the member nations of BIMP-EAGA specifically and the eight nations of ASEAN generally,” he said.
This was in line with the basic goal of the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).
“Tawau or Sabah has a lot to gain. Over the last few years, the merchandising and retailing business has picked up so fast that even the passenger boats has difficulty to accommodate this growth,” he added.
In addition, Roselan said there had been a marked increase in exports of building materials to Nunukan and Tarakan that were being carried by tugboats and barges.
“Whilst this is the beginning of the sea-linkages, there is still much work to be done to establish a more formal shipping route.
“Hopefully before the year is over, the Business Council of BIMP-EAGA would like to see MASwings flew over the Sulu Seas to Zamboanga and or Puerto Princessa, thus completing the air linkages with Sabah and Sarawak as the focal points or central hub,” he said.
Roselan is also pleased to note that members of the Sabah Bumiputra Chamber of Commerce in Tawau had benefited greatly.
“Their next expansion programme shall be in the tourism trade. Nunukan and Tarakan, which are both islands, have many unspoilt and unvisited attractions.
Whilst the hotels there are very cheap, the food is palatable to our taste. Any investment in their homestay should be fun and exciting,” he said.