AirAsia to set up more Indonesia-Kuching routes

Tony (left) exchanges a handshake with Abang Johari at the latter's office in Wisma Bapa Malaysia.

by Nancy Nais

KUCHING, Nov 25: Low cost carrier AirAsia Berhad will establish more routes from Indonesia to Kuching, following the success of its Pontianak sector, says group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes.

“AirAsia is looking for new places to promote and bring tourists around. We’ve learnt that the medical tourism sector in Sarawak is experiencing growth especially from Pontianak, Indonesia into Kuching and because of this, we will expand more Indonesian flights into the state,” he said, after a courtesy call on Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg at the latter’s office in Wisma Bapa Malaysia today.

Although AirAsia had met success in developing domestic tourism within Sarawak, Tony admitted that they had limited success stories with its international routes such as Kuching to Jakarta, Indonesia and Shenzen, China.

“However, we have never given up because we believe Sarawak is a crucial place in terms of tourism especially Kuching and Miri.”

Touching on some of points of his discussions with Abang Johari, Tony said they basically discussed about tourism (medical, eco, food and recreational), e-commerce and logistics, and the low cost carrier terminal.

“We’ve put to Abang Johari our interest in reinvesting in Sarawak’s tourism by partnering with the state government for a win-win situation. We also spoke on e-commerce and logistics because there are a lot of products from Sarawak which can be sold in Asia,” Tony said.

Tony was impressed what he had read and heard about Sarawak’s success after the state government opened the Sarawak Trade and Tourism Office (Statos) in Singapore, and he sees the potential of allowing more Sarawak entrepreneurs to sell their products, including food, to a larger market.

He said he’d also learnt that Abang Johari has big plans to invest in infrastructure, upgrading of national parks and more.

“That has given us a lot of encouragement. So we will need help from the state on their plans. From there, over on our side, AirAsia will plan it out together with the tourism office and trade officers, such as selling tilapia fish like what Sarawak did in Singapore recently,” Tony said. — DayakDaily