KUCHING: The proposed Sarawak-owned boutique airline will be operating under its own unique model, which aims to facilitate tourist arrivals into the state.
Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg said, therefore, the airline would not be profit-motivated but act as a facilitator for tourists for as long as the airline breaks even.
“As the boutique airline is owned by Sarawak, we will have our own model to set up the airline without following those such as Malaysia Airlines or AirAsia.
“These airlines are profit-based, but not Sarawak’s boutique airline. Our aim is to facilitate tourists’ flights to Sarawak,” he said at the Dewan Usahawan Bumiputera Sarawak (DUBS) Kuching branch charity dinner at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here yesterday (Nov 27).
Abang Johari further said the airline would fly those from countries such as Hong Kong, Bali, Singapore, Bangkok, Japan and India, all of which are within a six-hour flight of Sarawak.
“Of course, there are people who question why there is a need to set up an airline? For me, it is one of the infrastructures that we must build. It is just like building roads.
“When you talk about building roads, you don’t talk about the intangible returns that you will get from road construction because it provides connectivity. So the same goes for the airline.
“So, our model for setting up the airline is economy-based, and it is slightly different from others,” he said.
On Nov 13, Abang Johari said the state’s own airline is awaiting licence approval from the Ministry of Transport and is expected to operate within the next three months.
He said the boutique airline, being a commercial wing, will be operating under Hornbill Skyways.
“With the airline, it will allow us to bring in more tourists. So the operation is more or less finalised and we are just waiting for the licence,” he said.