Sunday, October 23, 2011

Firefly has helped increase Sabah tourism arrivals by 21% - Sabah Tourism Minister

Sabah wants more MAS, AirAsia KL-KK flights
Sabah hopes Malaysia Airlines (MAS) or AirAsia would add more flights between Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu following the termination of Firefly’s services.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Masidi Manjun said Firefly, a subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines Group, had contributed to the increased availability of seats resulting in an increase of 21 percent in domestic arrivals in Sabah as of August.

“There will be an impact on Sabah’s domestic tourist arrivals in the short run.

“But I believe airlines are in the business of making money and eventually, when they know there is demand, obviously it will make sense for them to add on more flights,” he told reporters after opening a seminar on Sabah’s prospects and retrospects after colonial rule in Kota Kinabalu today.

Masidi said the airline group needs to rationalise its operations in east Malaysia to ensure it does not lose more money.

While hoping the matter could be resolved in order to meet increasing demand, he expressed gratitude that passengers can still choose to travel by either MAS or AirAsia.

On Tuesday, the group said it had embarked on a network rationalisation programme with Firefly concentrating on short-haul turboprop operations and MAS focusing on its premium full-service offerings.

The programme will be undertaken over a two-month period on a sector-by-sector basis, and will result in all Firefly jet aircraft being redeployed into MAS’ operations by Dec 4, 2011.

However, the group remains committed to Sabah and Sarawak and will continue to operate all services to Kota Kinabalu and Kuching.

- Bernama

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