Sarawak awaiting licence to launch boutique airline, Abang Jo says

KUCHING • The Sarawak government is just waiting for a licence to be issued by the Ministry of Transport (MoT) so its new boutique airline can start operations.

Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg said the operational aspect of the airline has been finalised for international tourists to be flown directly (bypassing Kuala Lumpur) to the state.

“We have done a study and it seems that it (establishment of boutique airline) can be (implemented). Now we are just waiting for a decision from the MoT to issue a licence,” he said after officiating at the Sarawakku Sayang programme here today.

He said the small company will operate under the Hornbill Skyways platform and will be able to boost air connectivity for an influx of tourists to the Land of Hornbills.

Meanwhile, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said the establishment of the airline will benefit Sarawakians, as they can return to their hometowns with reasonable airfares.

Nancy, who is also Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) candidate for Santubong parliamentary seat in the 15th General Election (GE15), said many foreign tourists want to travel to the state, but limited flights is one of the inhibiting factors.

“The Covid-19 situation has presented a challenge to the aviation industry. So hopefully by having our own airline, it has the potential to increase the number of tourists to Sarawak,” she said.

On another matter, Abang Johari said although incumbent Santubong MP Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, who is Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law), is not contesting in GE15, his services and experience are still needed to support state efforts for a new economy.

He said, for example, Wan Junaidi, who headed the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment from 2015 to 2018, can steer the state in matters of carbon trading, which involves international law and the environment. — BERNAMA