KUCHING, Nov 14 — Sarawak Minister of Transport Datuk Seri Lee Kim Shin today said his ministry has written to the low-cost carrier AirAsia asking that it reconsider its decision to suspend flights from Singapore to Miri and Sibu effective February 21 next year.
He said his ministry has suggested that AirAsia should reduce flight frequencies to Miri and Sibu.
“Currently, AirAsia is operating four times from Singapore to Miri and three times to Sibu weekly, with an average load capacity of 69 per cent and 67 per cent respectively,” Lee said in a statement.
He added AirAsia chief executive officer Riad Asmat has not responded to the ministry’s letter which was sent on November 8.
He added his ministry received an email from AirAsia on November 7 on the suspension of the operations from Singapore.
He said the reasons quoted by the airline were that they were receiving low load factors, heavy losses and as part of their attempt to rationalise their fleet operations as their fleet is restricted due to global aircraft shortages.
Lee said the airline also assured it will make alternative arrangements to ensure that the affected passengers will reach their destinations.
Lee also said that his ministry is having discussions with Singapore’s Scoot on increasing flight frequencies to Kuching and Miri.
He said he has also proposed to Scoot to fly to Sibu.
He said increasing the flight frequencies was agreed to in principle and tentatively planned to commence in the second quarter of 2024, pending the delivery of new aircraft.
He said he was informed that the actual date could not be ascertained now, pending the arrival of new aircraft, most probably second quarter of 2024.
Currently, Scoot Pte Ltd flies daily from Singapore to Kuching and three times weekly to Miri.
Lee said Miri will also be receiving two additional flights from Firefly from Kota Kinabalu starting November 22, 2023.
He added the flight will be every Wednesday and Friday, departing Kota Kinabalu at 11.20am and arriving Miri at 12.15pm the same day.