KUCHING, Dec 2 — Sarawak wants to see more new direct routes and increased frequency of direct flights from Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Johor and Kota Kinabalu as travel restrictions have eased up in the state.
State Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister, Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the relaxation of some of the restrictions imposed following the Covid-19 pandemic had led Sarawak to focus on domestic tourism, with the Sarawak Tourism Board’s “Sia Sitok” tour package highlighting this effort.
“The response has been overwhelming and is certainly helping the industry during this challenging time, (and) has also made our local visitors know better about our own backyard. This proves that there is certainly a lot of potential for domestic tourism.”
He said this at a ceremony to welcome the arrival of Malaysia Airlines’ inaugural flight from Penang at Kuching International Airport today, and hoped that the national carrier would collaborate with Sarawak in increasing direct flights to the state.
“Connectivity has always been a challenge (in Sarawak), hence, Sarawak’s direct connectivity to Penang is very welcomed. The connectivity and accessibility generate greater mobility that will drive the economic growth of both destinations,” he added.
Malaysia Aviation Group, the parent company of Malaysia Airlines, in a statement said that direct flights from Penang to Kuching and Kota Kinabalu were recommenced from today until March next year as the demand for domestic travel has begun to show a positive upswing.
Customers for these sectors can enjoy low fares starting from RM219 (Penang-Kota Kinabalu) and RM279 (Penang-Kuching).
“These routes will soon be served by the airline’s sister company, Firefly from April 2022 onwards, resuming its jet operations based in Penang which was suspended since April 2021 due to the prolonged movement control order that resulted in poor demand,” it said.
Meanwhile, its other sister airline, MASwings has been increasing its operation from Kuching to Miri to 12 times weekly and seven times weekly from Kota Kinabalu to Miri since December 1, signifying its commitment to improving air connectivity, especially to the rural areas of Borneo. — Bernama