Keep flying the Kuching-Shenzhen route, AirAsia urged

Foo holding a press conference at SUPP headquarters.

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Jan 22: The Sarawak government, especially the Ministry of Tourism, should seriously take measures to keep the Kuching-Shenzhen direct flight as it is an important route to China.

Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) Youth secretary-general Milton Foo opined that it was unacceptable to see Sarawak’s air connectivity worse than that of Sabah.

“Sarawak is one of the three regions in forming Malaysia. But sadly, we are without direct flight connecting us to the rest of the world. This is not acceptable. Look at Singapore, with direct flights to everywhere in the world,” he told a press conference at the SUPP headquarters today.

“As such, I hope the state government can talk to AirAsia to continue the Kuching-Shenzhen route because it is the only door to mainland China from Kuching and Sarawak,” he stressed.

Foo also urged AirAsia to reconsider their decision to discontinue the route given that the passenger load both ways was relatively high.

“I have just come back from China recently by taking the same flight. It was a midnight flight, and what I observed was that the flight load was nearly full even from Shenzhen to Kuching,” he said.

“If the reasons to discontinue the route was due to passenger load factor, then perhaps AirAsia can gradually reduce the frequency from two times a week to one time a week instead of terminating the route.”

Foo was responding to a news report on AirAsia confirming it will suspend its non-stop service between Kuching and Shenzhen, China, effective Feb 28 due to ‘commercial reasons’.

From feedback gathered, he emphasised the need to help the public of all walks of life voice their concerns on this matter, particularly the businesses in Sarawak, which have already established connections and were transacting with Shenzhen in particular and China in general.

“Moreover, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg also envisioned Sarawak to become a little China by looking at Shenzhen as the model state. Shenzhen skyrocketed from a remote coastal town to the tech manufacturing capital of the world in three decades. Even he wanted to learn from the late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping,” he said referring to news reports from the Chinese press.

“So, isn’t it ironic that we want to emulate the success of Shenzhen but the direct flight is going to be cancelled?”

Foo said, perhaps, the time is ripe for Sarawak to set up its own airline in order to connect the state to the world. — DayakDaily