By Adrian Lim
KUCHING, June 30: AirAsia will increase its domestic and international flights to and from cities in Sarawak in July and August.
Sarawak Transport Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin in a press statement today said AirAsia will increase their flights tremendously including putting Singapore in their routes.
According to a table provided by the Transport Ministry, AirAsia will have a total of 301 weekly scheduled flights to and fro from Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Johor Bahru, Penang, Kota Bahru and Singapore to major cities in Sarawak in the next two months.
The ministry stated the airline had a total of 93 weekly flights for domestic routes in June coming into Sarawak from Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Johor Bahru, Penang and Kota Bahru.
Going forward, Sarawak Transport Ministry said AirAsia will have 173 weekly flights to Kuching; Miri (62), Sibu (45) and Bintulu (21).
Lee also said Malindo Air will increase their flights twice daily to cities in Sarawak and Scoot will add another flight weekly from Singapore.
Lee asserted that the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) had earlier on June 15 approved the request made by Airasia Bhd, Malindo Airways Sdn Bhd and Malaysia Airlines Bhd to increase the frequency of scheduled flight to or from and within Sarawak for the period of June 2020 until August 2020.
He stated that SDMC’s decision to approve and increase the frequency of flights between Peninsular Malaysia to Sarawak and vice versa was made after taking into consideration various factors, namely the improvement of the Covid-19 situation in Sarawak, the need to stimulate domestic economic growth, especially the tourism sector, and to facilitate movement of goods and people for business, official and personal reasons.
Prior to that, Lee said the flying frequency allowed by SDMC for flights from Sarawak to Peninsular Malaysia and vice versa during the Movement Control Order (MCO) was only once weekly from Kuala Lumpur to Kuching and Miri for Malaysia Airlines, and none from other airlines.
As travel demand gradually picked up over time, he added other airlines such as Airasia and Malindo Air started to follow suit and started to operate between Kuala Lumpur and Kuching at a frequency of one time weekly, while Malaysia Airlines increased her frequency to three times weekly.
He said SDMC had also on June 15 approved the increase of weekly domestic flights linking Sarawak to Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Johor Bahru, Penang, and Kota Bahru.
For passengers, Lee explained that they are still required to observe the standard operating procedures (SOPs).
Those include the need to download the MySejahtera apps, fill in the health declaration form, download the COVIDTrace apps and Qmunity apps.
Lee said passengers will be selected randomly to have the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) sample taken upon arrival at the main entrance of the airport.
“On behalf of the government of Sarawak, I wish to thank all the airline operators, Malaysia Airlines Bhd, Airasia Bhd, Scoot, Malindo Air and Maswings for taking prompt action in increasing the flights frequency to and from Sarawak.
“We are very confident that with all these initiatives, it will help to accelerate the recovery of Sarawak domestic economic activities and curb the spreading of Covid-19 in the state,” Lee said. —DayakDaily