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KK-Bintulu, KK-Sibu routes to see 165 pct hike weekly in passenger traffic

5 month ago, 05-Dec-2018

Anthony Loke Siew Fook

PUTRAJAYA: The Kota Kinabalu-Sibu and Kota Kinabalu-Bintulusectors, which will be operated by AirAsia beginning Jan 1,2019,will see a whopping 165 per cent increase, weekly, in passenger volume,saysTransport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook.

He said flight service between these two sectors, which wereremoved from the Rural Air Service (RAS) agreement recently, would resume with 14 weekly flights forboth routes, onboard AirAsia Airbus A320which can ferry 2,520 passengers.

Previously, MASwings’ used ATR propeller planes whichcould fly920 passengers weekly, Loke said, adding thatpassengers canbuy their tickets to Bintulu and Sibu at any authorised AirAsia ticketing counteror online beginning today.

“In November,the government removed both routes from the RAS agreement. TheCabinet then approved AirAsia Group Bhd’s commercial flight operations for these two routes given the huge demand.

“This is because AirAsia has larger flights to operate. They feel MASwings’ capacity is too low and not able to carry more passengers. The government did a study on thematter,” he told reporters after chairing the first National Aviation Council Engagement here today.

Loke said MASwings, whichpreviously operated eight routes under the RAS framework, would seize itsoperations beginning Jan 1, 2019.

Passengers booked to fly these routes would be refunded, beginning today, he added.

“We have entered into a contract with AirAsiato operate these two routes, they will not be able to pull back from this agreement. If they do, they will need to compensate the government.

“Under the RAS agreement, any operational losswill be subsidised by the government, but under commercial flight agreements, there is no subsidy and the flight operator must bear losses incurred,” he said. – Bernama


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