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KUCHING, September 15: Sarawak looks forward to the transformation of its rural air services (RAS) routes to commercial air routes.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the idea, which had been the desire of Sarawakians for quite a while, has been conveyed to Minister of Transport Anthony Loke.
He said Loke, who paid a courtesy call on him yesterday, agreed to the idea and promised to look into it and implement it as soon as possible.
“I discussed with him (Loke). It has been our dream for a long time that they (Ministry of Transport) review the RAS routes. Let it be confined to RAS like Bario, Ba’kelalan, Marudi, Long Seridan … all that rural areas.
“But then for places like Sibu, Kuching and Miri, for example, they should not be under RAS but open to commercial routes. This he (Loke) agreed,” said Abang Johari.
Yesterday, Loke said this would be implemented by next year, adding that the state had vast tourism potential that needed efficient air transportation.
With the changing of city air routes from RAS to commercial ones, Loke reckoned this would improve the efficiency of air transportation in Sarawak and boost its tourism trade.
Meanwhile, Abang Johari also revealed that the Ministry of Transport would be studying the possibility of connecting more direct, international flights to and from Sarawak.
One that needed to be looked into is air connectivity between Kuching and Jakarta to encourage Sarawak’s medical tourism industry.
“I told him (Loke) why not if possible we study connecting Kuching with Jakarta because a lot of potential medical tourism. Currently, they come to Sarawak via Pontianak in Kalimantan.
“So, he (Loke) will be looking into it and maybe to talk to the airlines,” said Abang Johari. — DayakDaily