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Saturday June 26, 2010

MASwings eyes BIMP-EAGA this year

KOTA KINABALU: MASwings is exploring the possibility of operating into the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) this year, according to managing director Datuk Mohd Salleh Ahmad Tabrani.

“With the recent completion of our fleet renewal programme, we have completely phased out all eight Fokker aircraft and replaced them with 10 new ATR72-500 aircraft.

“We are currently exploring the possibility of launching some international routes from Sabah and Sarawak into BIMP-EAGA,” he told reporters after the launch of self check-in kiosks by MAS managing director and chief executive officer Tengku Datuk Azmil Zahruddin at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport yesterday.

However, Mohd Salleh said MASwings would sought approval from the Ministry of Transport, a key stakeholder, before embarking on the new route. — Bernama

“We are currently discussing the issue with them and we hope the ministry will consent to us operating in BIMP-EAGA.

“Should we secure the approval from the ministry, we hope to launch the first international BIMP-EAGA route sometime in October or November.

“We are looking at Malaysia specifically Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei, southern Philipines, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Irian Jaya, Indonesia,” he said, adding that other destinations under evaluation included Pontianak in Kalimantan, Balik Papan and Tarakan in East Kalimantan, Brunei and Davao and Cebu in the Philippines.

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. - Bernama

He added the launch of the BIMP EAGA routes would not only be good for MASwings but also for Sabah and Sarawak.       “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,” he said.

Meanwhile, Azmil said Malaysia Airlines Bhd, which recorded a net profit of about RM310 million for the first-quarter ended March 31, would see business slowing down 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,” he said.

Earlier, in his speech, Azmil said 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.

He said the kiosk check-in service was first offered at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Dec 2007 but it was limited to domestic travel only.

However, the service was expanded in September 2008 to cover regional travel and subsequently international travel in April last year.

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