Its managing director, Datuk Capt Mohd Nawawi Awang, said MASwings had already submitted the proposal to the Transport Ministry for approval.
"Based on the positive response from the ministry, I'm quite confident that the flights from Kota Kinabalu to Brunei and from Kuching to Pontianak (West Kalimantan) will take off on July 1 or in July," he said during a luncheon with the media here today.
He said if these flights were successful, MASwings planned to introduce flights from Kota Kinabalu to Tawau and Tarakan (East Kalimanan) and also from Kuching to Mulu and Brunei in October.
"Plans are also in the pipeline for other destinations within Bimp-Eaga region and we hope to provide flight services from Sabah and Sarawak to major cities such as Palawan and Mindanao in Southern Philippines as well as Manado in Sulawesi, Indonesia, in the future," he said.
Bimp-Eaga stands for Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area, a subregional economic cooperation initiative in Southeast Asia.
Mohd Nawawi said MASwings was aware of the need to improve air connectivity within this region as it was constantly discussed among leaders of the Bimp-Eaga member countries at meetings of the grouping.
Apart from that, he said MASwings would also explore the possibility of embarking on international flights from Sabah and Sarawak with immediate focus being on the Kota Kinabalu-Kuala Lumpur and Kuching-Kuala Lumpur sectors.
Mohd Nawawi said MASwings would continue its service to rural destinations. "We want MASwings to be the icon for Sabah and Sarawak. That's why 90 per cent of the almost 1,300 staff of MASwings are locals from Sabah and Sarawak. We operate in Sabah and Sarawak, and it's only fair that we recruit more locals to work for MASwings," he said.Bernama