KUCHING, Sept 20 — The Sarawak government is expected to operate its own air service next year, connecting the state to other cities in the region, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg said today.
He said the air service aims to solve the problems of air connectivity faced by travellers who want to come to Sarawak.
“We are not going to operate an airline, but something like a nucleus operating air service between Sarawak and other countries in this region,” he told reporters after opening a three-day Sarawak Property Expo at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here.
He said he is considering leasing two or three planes for the air service, adding that the state government will have control over its operation.
The chief minister said the state government is in the midst of negotiating with an airline company on the leasing of the planes.
“We are also talking about scheduled fights for the air service,” he said, adding that operating an air service is part of the state government’s investment in the tourist industry.
He said the aim not to make money out of the air service as long as it can cover its operational cost.
“But the tourism industry will benefit from this venture,” he said.
The chief minister also said the state government hopes to perform a ground-breaking for the autonomous rapid transit (ART) next year, with China’s ART as a model.
He said the proposed routes of the ART will be Kuching-Samarahan-Serian and Kuching-Bau-Lundu.