Set up chartered airline or takeover MASwings? Sarawak weighs options

Abang Johari speaking to reporters at his Hari Raya open house at BCCK today (June 5, 2019).

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By Peter Sibon

KUCHING, June 5: Sarawak is exploring two options in its quest to have its own airline to propel its tourism potential, said Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg today.

Expressing confidence that his administration would be able to realise this dream, the chief minister said, “We are still negotiating (with the federal government) on the possibility of having our own private airline, preferably a chartered airline or taking over MASwings.”

Speaking to reporters at his Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) today, Abang Johari said the state was not considering investing in the debt-ridden Malaysia Airlines as it was deemed unviable.

Sarawak, he emphasised, preferred to have its own small airline, instead.

“What we need is connectivity with strategic points. I will see what I can do next year,” he said.

Abang Johari (third left) serving food to visitors at his Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house at BCCK.

Meanwhile, Minister of Tourism, Art, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said he would not be able to comment on the proposed state airline as it was still under negotiation.

However, he was confident the state government would be able to get strategic links with cities in the region, namely Singapore, Jakarta (Indonesia) and Shenzhen (China), in an effort to bring more foreign tourists to the state.

“And insofar as our tourism target is concerned, we are on track to achieve 5 million tourist arrivals this year,” he said. — DayakDaily