MASwings mulls flying to Brunei, Bimp-Eaga

Saturday, June 26, 2010

MASWINGS, a unit of Malaysia Airlines, is exploring the possibility of serving the Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines-East Asean Growth Area (Bimp-Eaga), Malaysian newswire Bernama reported yesterday.

The agency quoted Mohd Salleh Ahmad Tabrani, MASwings managing director, as saying, "We are looking at Malaysia, specifically Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei, southern Philippines, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Irian Jaya, Indonesia," for possible routes to be pursued.

Other destinations under evaluation included Pontianak in Kalimantan, Balik Papan and Tarakan in East Kalimantan, Davao and Cebu in the Philippines, he said. According to the Bernama report, Mohd Salleh said these were the potential destinations for the ATR 72-500 aircraft and MASwings hoped to operate these destinations in the near future.

"We are currently exploring the possibility of launching some international routes from Sabah and Sarawak into the Bimp-Eaga region," he was quoted as saying, after the launch of self check-in kiosks by Tengku Datuk Azmil Zahruddin, MAS managing director and chief executive officer, at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport yesterday.

Mohd Salleh was quoted to have said that MASwings would be seeking approval from Malaysia's Ministry of Transport (MoT), a key stakeholder, before embarking on the new route.

"We are currently discussing the issue with them and we hope MoT will consent to us operating in the Bimp-Eaga region. Should we secure the approval from the ministry, we hope to launch the first international Bimp-Eaga route sometime in October or November.

"The launch of the Bimp-Eaga routes would not only be good for MASwings but also for Sabah and Sarawak," Bernama quoted Mohd Salleh as saying.

"We believe the international Bimp-Eaga routes can further enhance tourism and trade among the various countries within the region and the main beneficiary will definitely be Sabah and Sarawak."

According to the Bernama wire report, Malaysia Airlines Bhd recorded a net profit of about RM310 million for the first-quarter ended March 31, 2010, and would see business slowing between April and June.

"In July to August, more people will start travelling again during summer and business will be quite strong during these months," Azmil was quoted as saying.

The report also said that in his speech, Azmil said that MAS had budgeted RM480 million for the Passenger Services System (PSS) programme over a 10-year period and the kiosk check-in service was one of the deliverables under the programme.

The kiosk check-in service was first offered at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in December 2007, but it was limited to domestic travel only, with an expansion in September 2008 to cover regional travel and subsequently international travel in April last year, Bernama said. Ying Chia

The Brunei Times