MIRI: The Malaysia Aviation Commission (Mavcom) will look into the details of flight frequency to Sarawak as it involves other technical requirements such as manpower, aircraft mobilisation and flight connectivity.
In saying this, Sarawak Transport Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin said a request was also made for Mavcom to take into account having 90 minutes interval between the flights to prevent congestion and give sufficient time for health and immigration clearance.
“A meeting was held with the federal Ministry of Transport and Mavcom yesterday (Sept 29) to discuss and coordinate the new flight frequency schedule to Sarawak.
“The meeting decided that the increase of flights will be gradual and if possible, to begin with increasing the present passenger load capacity following the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee’s (SDMC) approval to allow 100 percent passenger load instead of 60 percent.
“This will be followed by gradual increase in the number of weekly flights, which is subjected to the maximum number as approved by SDMC.
“It is hoped that with the approval of 100 per cent passenger load capacity for all flights and the gradual increase in number of weekly flights approval from 22 to 87, the airlines will be able to lower their air fares,” he said yesterday.
Lee noted that the proposal to increase the flight frequency gradually was upon the advice of Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and SDMC.
He said this also included various other factors such as the availability of flights coming to the state, the high air fare, which could reach up to RM1,500 one way, and request from the tourism sector.
“The demand to travel from the public and medical expert advice are also some of the factors.
“This new flight frequency and scheduling is also critical with the reopening of schools, colleges and universities in October.
“There will be a lot of student movements from Sarawak to Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Kota Kinabalu and vice-versa.
“In addition, with the new standard operating procedure (SOP) issued by SDMC on enterSarawak procedures where passengers who have completed two doses of vaccination or completed their full vaccination will no longer be quarantined.
“However, those passengers who are not fully vaccinated and those from overseas will be quarantined for 10 days at the assigned hotel or quarantine centre.”
He said it was expected that the increase of flights would have little effect on the number of quarantine rooms needed for quarantine purposes as the state was expecting fully vaccinated passengers.