By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, Dec 16: Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah says his biggest concern for MASwings ceasing to serve several domestic routes in East Malaysia may result in the increase of domestic airfares in Sarawak by AirAsia.
However, in general, Abdul Karim believes MASwings’ recent announcement of ceasing eight domestic routes in Sarawak and Sabah will not affect tourism in Sarawak.
“I doubt the tourism industry will be affected as these sectors are already serviced by AirAsia which seems to be the favoured airline as the plane is bigger and faster,” Abdul Karim told DayakDaily recently.
Regarding some DayakDaily readers’ concerns that AirAsia as the only airline serving these routes might lead to a monopoly and later airfare increases and thus, more expensive flights between Kuching-Bintulu, Kuching-Miri and Kuching-Sibu, Abdul Karim said the Sarawak government will monitor the situation closely.
“That is my big worry. We will watch closely. Hopefully Mavcom (Malaysian Aviation Commission) has a ceiling price for all sectors,” said Abdul Karim.
Mavcom was established in 2016 under the Malaysian Aviation Commission Act 2015 to regulate economic and commercial matters related to civil aviation in Malaysia.
Its goal is to promote a commercially viable, consumer-oriented and resilient civil aviation industry which supports the nation’s economic growth.
Recently, MASwings issued a statement announcing that it will cease operating eight domestic routes in Sabah and Sarawak, effective Jan 1.
The routes are Kuching-Bintulu, Kuching-Miri, Kuching-Sibu, Kota-Kinabalu-Miri, Kota Kinabalu-Sibu, Kota Kinabalu-Sandakan, Kota Kinabalu-Tawau and Kota Kinabalu-Bintulu. — DayakDaily