Gradual increase in flight frequency

Datuk Lee Kim Shin

KUCHING: Flight frequency to Sarawak will be increased gradually to support the revival of the economy and tourism sector but with strict compliance with the guidelines to control the spread of Covid-19 in Sarawak.

This was decided on Sept 24 by the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC), according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Transport on Tuesday.

Transport Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin added that the ministry had engaged with relevant stakeholders, especially Malaysia Aviation Commission (Mavcom) and the Federal Ministry of Transport and presented new flight frequency and proposed flight schedules at a meeting on Sept 28.

“The decision of the meeting was that Mavcom, as the authority, would engage with all the airlines on the new flight schedules and take various factors into consideration such as manpower, aircraft mobilisation and flight connectivity.

“Mavcom engaged with the airlines on Sept 30 and the airlines were given until Oct 4 to confirm their flight schedules based on the flight frequency prepared by the ministry,” he said.

Lee added that the SDMC secretariat also held talks with the airlines, Malaysian Civil Defence Force (APM), Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad (MAHB) and other relevant stakeholders on the new process entry to Sarawak.

Besides enabling the authorities to process the data and monitor the incoming passengers efficiently, he said, “This will give clear instructions to passengers coming to Sarawak as well as eliminate the congestion and time-consuming process at Sarawak airports.

“This process is necessary, especially the engagement between relevant stakeholders, such as the state government with the federal government, Mavcom, Civil Aviation Authority Malaysia, MAHB, APM, Resident Office and the airlines to make sure the new schedule will run smoothly according to the plan,” said the minister.

Lee also hoped that the process would ease the movements of passengers and travellers to Sarawak as the state is already in Phase 3 of the National Recovery Plan.

“We believe that with more frequent flights approved by the SDMC, the airlines will offer reasonable and affordable air fares to the public.

“However, we would like to remind all passengers and travellers coming to Sarawak that they must comply strictly with the standard operating procedures set by the National Security Council, Ministry of Health Malaysia and the SDMC to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the state,” said Lee.