More flights into Sarawak from Nov 1

Kuching International airport.

Weekly frequency to increase by 134 flights

KUCHING: The Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) has approved to further increase the existing flight frequency into Sarawak from 89 flights to 223 flights weekly starting Nov 1.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Lee Kim Shin said these involved flights into Kuching, Sibu, Miri, Bintulu, Limbang, Lawas and Mulu.

He disclosed that the flight frequency to Kuching will be increased to 114 times from 44 times weekly, Miri increased to 40 times weekly from 19 times presently, Sibu to 31 times  from the current eight times weekly, Bintulu – 24 times from six times weekly, Limbang and Lawas increased to seven times from five times weekly and the flight frequency to Mulu at  seven times weekly.

Lee said his ministry had received numerous feedback and complaints from the public despite the previously approved increased flight frequency into Sarawak from 22 to 89 flights weekly on Oct 1.

“Taking a pro-active action to resolve this issue, the ministry had prepared and forwarded on Oct 25 a proposal to SDMC and Ministry of Transport Malaysia including Malaysia Aviation Commission (Mavcom).

“As of Thursday, all the airlines namely Malaysia Airlines Berhad, Airasia Berhad, Malindo Airways Sdn Bhd, Scoot Tigerair Pte Ltd and MASwings Sdn Bhd have been notified by Mavcom on the new flight frequency approval for their next course of action which is to confirm their flight schedule through aerofile to Mavcom, mobilise their manpower and aircraft to suit the new flight and schedule requirements.

“Now, it is up to the airlines to start operating on the new flight frequency and schedule starting Nov 1. The details will be uploaded at the ministry’s website (mots@sarawak.gov.my) once we have received the information from all the airlines through Mavcom.

“The ministry strongly believes that with the new and more frequency as well as the schedule will ease the limitation of flights and reduce the air fare further. We were informed by the airlines that for those who wanted to get cheaper air fare they need to plan their travel well ahead and book their flight much earlier, not within one or two days prior to their journey,” Lee said in a statement on Thursday (Oct 28).

He also reminded all travelers and passengers coming into the state to comply strictly with the standard operating procedure (SOP) which was established by the Ministry of Health (MoH), National Security Council (MKN) and SDMC.

He explained that this is very important to ensure that the spread of Covid-19 in Sarawak is well under control.

“We wish to inform that currently there is no restriction on the frequency of domestic flights within Sarawak by the ministry and SDMC. However, the airlines are advised to apply directly to Mavcom if they still need to increase further their domestic flights frequency due to great demand from passengers.

“The ministry will always support their requests in the interest of the public,” he said.

He noted that with the increase in flight frequency from outside Sarawak and no flight restriction within the state as well as operating on full passenger-load capacity, there was no reason for the airlines to charge high air fare.

“We would like to remind all the airlines to exercise their social responsibility in these difficult times by not taking advantage of the travellers who are already experiencing hardship.

“With all the full cooperation that we have received in managing this matter, we would like to thank the Ministry of Transport Malaysia, Mavcom, Malaysia Civil Defense (APM), Resident offices, MoH, Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM), Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad (MAHB) and all the airlines,” he said.

He also thanked the public especially the frequent travellers for giving the ministry the feedback and therefore allowed the ministry to continue to work together with other relevant authorities to provide better flight connectivity at competitive rates into and within Sarawak.