Transport minister urges AirAsia to use aerobridges for all flights in Sarawak

Lee (centre) with the ministry's permanent secretary Buckland Bangik (second left) and representatives from MAB and AirAsia.

KUCHING, Jan 23: Sarawak Transport Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin today urged AirAsia Berhad’s management to use aerobridges in all airports in Sarawak unless they were are fully occupied.

AirAsia uses aerobridge for their flights on embarkation and disembarkation of their passengers at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2).

Similarly, when AirAsia flies to other countries, they also use aerobridges, prompting Lee to question why the airline did not do so for domestic flights, particularly in Sarawak.

“During the Chinese New Year period, there will be more people flying, especially those who travel with family members. Hence, I hope that AirAsia will use the aerobridge for all AirAsia flights into Sarawak as soon as possible,” Lee said in a press conference after meeting officials from AirAsia Berhad and Malaysia Airport Bhd (MAB) yesterday.

Lee asserted that by not using the aerobridge, it had caused inconvenience to passengers especially during wet weather whereby the aircraft boarding staircases become slippery and increase the chances of unwanted incidents happening.

“People who are affected are the elderly, the sick, disable and families travelling with young kids. It can give rise to safety problems for young kids as they may run around the airplane parking apron while going to the plane, especially the naughty ones, as some passengers commented,” he lamented.

Sharing his experience on flying AirAsia (domestic and international) frequently, Lee said after he was appointed as Sarawak transport minister, a number of passengers who were on same flight with him directly requested him to appeal to the airline to use aerobridges for all its flights in Sarawak.

“There are passengers who told me that they do not even mind AirAsia add one ringgit extra in their air tickets for using the aerobridge,” he added.

Currently there are about 150 flight movements per day at Kuching International Airport (KIA) whereby 60 per cent of movements were carried out by AirAsia.

MAB senior manager Jun Iskandar Murshidi said the fees to use aerobridge at four airports in Sarawak were RM85 per usage.

He added that MAB statistics showed that the majority of Sarawakians fly with AirAsia.

“Based on MAB’s statistics, Kuching International Airport (KIA) alone recorded 5.6 million passengers in 2018, and 5.9 million in 2019 which exceeded the current capacity of the airport which is 5.3 million passengers,” Jun Iskandar said.

On another note, the number of passengers at Miri Airport recorded in 2018 was 2.3 million and 2.435 million in 2019, which also exceeded the airport’s capacity of two million passengers.

There are on the average 110 flight movements in Miri daily. —DayakDaily