Maiden Singapore-Sibu flight courtesy of AirAsia touches down at Sibu Airport

Lee welcoming passengers at Sibu Airport.

SIBU, Dec 16: The maiden AirAsia Singapore to Sibu flight with 180 passengers on board touched down at Sibu Airport at 6.15pm this evening.

Earlier at 1.30pm Friday (Dec 16), the same aircraft took off with 175 passengers on board.

Minister of Transport, Dato Sri Lee Kim Shin who was at the airport to welcome the passengers later said that the State is expecing an increase in the number of travellers and visitors coming from Singapore and overseas with the operation of the AirAsia Singapore-Sibu sector.

“In the months to come, with the Singapore-Sibu flights we anticipate the number of travelers and visitors coming from Singapore and overseas to Sarawak will increase,” he said.

AirAsia is operating the Singapore-Sibu-Singapore sector four times weekly every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

The Singapore-Sibu sector is the third one after Kuching and Miri.

Lee said although the number of visitors from Singapore to Sarawak has decreased tremendously due to the Covid-19 pandemic,especially in 2020 and 2021, Sarawak has received 46,340 passengers from January to September 2022 through the Singapore-Sarawak flights to Kuching and Miri.

“We all know Singapore very well that it is a significant regional and international hub for finance and business. This route from Sibu as well as from Kuching and Miri to Singapore will allow for direct access to the local business community towards a very lucrative ready market for our agriculture, fisheries and local food products,” he said.

Lee encouraged more entrepreneurs and the business community in the Central Region to seize this opportunity to market their products to Singapore.

As for visitors, he said they can explore the many nature and riverine activities up the Rejang river and experience the unique longhouse living culture.

“Sibu is the gateway to the Central Region of Sarawak, with convenient land and river transport access to many surrounding towns namely Sarikei, Bintangor, Kapit and Mukah,” he said.

The republic, he said is also one of the state’s key trading partners.

On behalf of the State Government, Lee thanked and congratulated Riad Asmat, the CEO of Airasia Berhad Malaysia and applauded the AirAsia team for their commitment in enhancing Airasia Berhad collaboration with the Sarawak government.

He also thanked the Ministry of Transport Malaysia, Ministry of Transport Singapore, Malaysia Aviation Commission (MAVCOM), Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM), Ministry of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Sarawak (MTCP), Sarawak Tourism Board, Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad (MAHB), Sarawak Trade and Tourism Office Singapore (STATOS) and all the related agencies for the support and working with Ministry of Transport Sarawak in trying to get and give better air connectivity to business travelers, visitors and tourists into the State.

Among those present were Senior General Manager, Malaysia Airports Holding Berhad (MAHB), Kamaruzaman Razali, Airasia Government Relations Sarawak Hamdan Mohamad and Sibu Municipal Council chairman Clarence Ting. — DayakDaily