06 April, 2007
MIRI: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has agreed to start a transit flight from here to Guangzhou and Hong Kong with a stop in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah after being unable to fulfil a request for direct flights between Miri and the two destinations in China.
State Assistant Minister for Infrastructure Development and Communications Lee Kim Shin said at his recent meeting with MAS management, mobilisation problem was the reason given for the direct flight proposal to be turned down.
Speaking at a dialogue with tourism operators organised by Tourism Malaysia and the Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) here, he said MAS’ agreement to start the transit flight was a small breakthrough to bring more tourists here.
He added that MAS would be working on the details of the proposed flight and had yet to give the actual date for the flight commencement.
He said although he personally preferred MAS to start three direct flights weekly from here to the two destinations, he hoped the proposed transit flight would receive overwhelming response to make the national airline to reconsider direct flights.
He said a MAS Golden Holiday Package management team would be coming to Miri on April 19 to find out about the tourism products available here, following his request after the resort city was not listed for the holiday packages.
Speaking to reporters after the dialogue, he said calls made by people in the State for another airline to serve the domestic routes in Sarawak should be taken up by the Transport Ministry.
He admitted that there had not been much improvement since the rationalisation exercise in Sarawak last August that saw Fly Asian Xpress (FAX) taking over most of the domestic routes in the State.
“We cannot prolong this (air connectivity problem) because it will not only affect our tourism industry but is also causing inconvenience to domestic travellers,” he added.- Bernama