KUCHING, Jan 23 — State Transport Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin today urged AirAsia Berhad’s management to use aerobridges in all airports in Sarawak for the convenience and safety of the passengers, especially during wet weather.

He noted that the airline used the aerobridges at KLIA2 for international flights.

“So why is it that it does not do so for domestic flights, particularly in Sarawak?” he asked at a press conference that was called after meeting officials from AirAsia Berhad and Malaysia Airport Berhad here.

“During the Chinese New Year period, there will be more people flying, especially those who travel with family members,” he added, expressing hope that AirAsia will use aerobridges for all AirAsia flights into Sarawak as soon as possible.

Lee stressed that by not using the aerobridge, the airline has caused inconvenience to passengers, especially during wet weather.

“This may increase the chances of unwanted incidents to happen.

 “People who are affected are the elderly, the sick, people with disabilities and families travelling with young kids.

“It can give rise to safety problems for young kids as they may run around the airplane parking apron while going to the plane, especially the naughty ones, as some passengers commented,” he said.

Lee added that he flew on AirAsia often, sometimes even when going abroad.

He said in recent months since he was appointed Sarawak transport minister, a number of passengers who were on the same flights with him directly requested him to appeal to the airline to use aerobridges for all its flights to Sarawak.

 “There are passengers who told me that they do not even mind AirAsia adds one ringgit extra in their air tickets for using the aerobridge,” he related.

According to Lee, there were currently about 150 flight movements per day at Kuching International Airport (KIA), 60 per cent of which were carried out by AirAsia.

According to MAB, he said the fee for use of the aerobridge at the four Airports in Sarawak is RM85 per usage and MAB statistics show that the majority of Sarawakians fly by AirAsia.

“Based on MAB’s statistics, Kuching International Airport (KIA) alone recorded 5.6 million passengers in 2018, and 5.9 million in 2019 which exceeded the current capacity of the airport which is 5.3 million passengers,” he added.

On another note, Lee said the number of passengers at Miri Airport recorded in 2018 was 2.3 million and 2.435 million in 2019, which also exceeded the airport’s capacity of 2 million passengers.

There are on average 110 flight movements in Miri daily.

“Thus, the ministry will meet with MAB on the needs for expansion of the airport’s terminal buildings in Kuching and Miri,” he added.

Also present during the meeting were Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Transport Buckland Bangik, Assistant Secretary to the Ministry of Transport Zulkarnain Rosli, Senior Airport Manager to Malaysia Airports Sdn Bhd Jun Iskandar Murshidi and Government Relations to Airasia Berhad Juanita Suraya.