By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, June 10: Sarawak Transport Ministry calls on all airlines to resume their flight frequency as it was prior to the implementation of the Movement Control Order due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Its minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin said this applies to both flights coming to and from Sarawak as well as flights within Sarawak.
“For this purpose, all airlines need to officially apply to SDMC to increase their flight frequency to Sarawak and within Sarawak,” said Lee.
He said that the airline companies had admitted that the flight fares charged during MCO were very high, as raised by the public.
“For example, the flight fares from Kuala Lumpur to Kuching is RM2,100.00 and from Kuala Lumpur to Miri is RM2,366.00.
“With the increase in both the flight capacity to 100 per cent and frequency, we hope that the airlines could cope with the current situation and therefore will be able to reduce the flight fares to the rates before the imposition of MCO which are reasonable and acceptable to the public,” said Lee at a press conference after a special meeting with the airlines and the relevant agencies related to the aviation industry in Sarawak.
Lee said the meeting was held to convey the approval of State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) for full flight capacity between Peninsular Malaysia to Sarawak and vice versa starting today which is in tandem with the decision of the Malaysian Transport Ministry and National Security Council.
“It was also a platform to get feedback from the airlines on the huge increase in flight fares as raised by the public through social media,” he said.
Lee said that prior to today, the flying capacity allowed by SDMC was only 66.6 per cent for both flights from Sarawak to Peninsular Malaysia and for flights from Peninsular Malaysia to Sarawak.
The decision of SDMC to approve 100 per cent flight capacity between Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak was made after taking into consideration various factors namely the improvement of Covid-19 situation in the state, the need to stimulate domestic economic growth especially the tourism sector and to facilitate the movement of goods and people for business, official and personal reasons.
The Senadin assemblyman added that although the approval has been given to inter-state travel and on 100 per cent flight capacity, all agencies such as airport operators and airline operators must follow strictly the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) on the passengers at the terminal and while inside the aircraft.
“These include the screening of body temperature through thermal scanner or handheld infra-red thermometer before entering the airport terminal, requirement of face mask usage by the crews and passengers and the use of hand sanitizers,” said Lee.—DayakDaily