KUCHING, Oct 28 ― The Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) has approved an increase in flight frequencies to Sarawak, from 89 flights weekly to 223, beginning November 1, state Transport Minister Datuk Seri Lee Kim Shin said today.
He said the Malaysia Aviation Commission (Mavcom) has notified Malaysia Airlines Berhad, AirAsia Berhad, Malindo Airways Sdn Bhd, Scoot Tigerair Pte Ltd and MASwings Sdn Bhd to confirm their flight schedules and mobilise manpower and aircraft to suit the new requirements.
He said for Kuching, the increase is from 44 flights weekly to 144; for Miri, 19 flights weekly to 40; for Sibu, eight flights weekly to 31; for Bintulu, six flights weekly to 24; and for Limbang and Lawas, five flights weekly to seven.
Lee said the schedule for Mulu remains the same, with seven flights weekly.
“Now, it is up to the airlines to start operating based on the new flight frequencies and schedules starting November 1,” he said in a statement.
He added the details will be uploaded to the state MoT website once Mavcom receives the information from all airlines concerned.
“The state MoT strongly believes that the new flight frequencies and schedules will address the shortage of flights and reduce airfare further.
“The airlines informed us that those looking to get cheaper airfare had to plan well ahead of time and book their flight much earlier, not one or two days prior to their journey,” Lee said.
He reminded all travellers and passengers entering the state to strictly adhere to the standard operating procedures (SOP) set by the Ministry of Health, National Security Council and SDMC.
“This is very important to ensure that the spread of Covid-19 in Sarawak is contained,” he said, adding that currently, there are no restrictions on the frequency of flights within Sarawak by the state MoT and SDMC.
“However, airlines are advised to apply directly to Mavcom if they still need to increase their domestic flight frequency in response to high demand,” he said.
“With the increase in flight frequencies from outside Sarawak and no flight restrictions within Sarawak as well as full passenger load, there is no reason for airlines to charge more.
“We would like to remind all airlines to exercise their social responsibility during these difficult times by not taking advantage of travellers who are already going through tough times,” Lee said.