AirAsia to help Sarawak achieve its 5 million tourists target

Aziz (left) and Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg at a press conference after launching AirAsia Visit Sarawak Year 2019 aircraft livery at Kuching International Airport.

By Peter Sibon

KUCHING, Feb 2: AirAsia today pledged to help Sarawak achieve its target of wooing 5 million tourists to the state this year.

AirAsia director cum co-founder Datuk Aziz Bakar said AirAsia would continue to assist the Sarawak government to provide connectivity to routes that are deemed viable.

“We are negotiating right now, together. God willing, give us a little bit more time, we will come up with specific plans,” he told reporters at the Visit Sarawak Campaign Aircraft Livery launch at the Kuching International Airport today.

Meanwhile, Aziz dropped a bombshell today by confirming the discontinuation of the Shenzhen-Kuching direct flight, after operating for just over two years.

“At the moment, we have decided we are going to stop it (Shenzhen-Kuching direct flight).

“We will still provide the numbers (of flights). You see, their (Sarawak government’s) target is 5 million tourists visiting Sarawak this year. So, we are going to work together to achieve the target.

“Shenzhen is just one small sector. I kira in one flight how many people you carry … a few hundred, and in one year, how many you carry. But we are looking at the overall rationalisation,” he said.

The Shenzhen-Kuching sector was introduced by AirAsia on Dec 27, 2017.

Before the announcement today, various quarters urged AirAsia and the state government not to discontinue the service as it is the only direct flight from mainland China to Kuching.

Meanwhile, Aziz dismissed the notion that AirAsia had discontinued the Shenzhen-Kuching direct flight due to political change in Putrajaya.

“No, AirAsia is just a business enterprise. We are in the business of carrying people from one point to another. That’s our business,” he said. — DayakDaily