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Published: Monday November 21, 2011 MYT 11:13:00 AM

MASwings to launch the first phase of its BIMP-EAGA operations

KOTA KINABALU: MASwings, the airline servicing Sabah and Sarawak, expects to launch the first phase of its BIMP-EAGA operations into Brunei and Kalimantan, Indonesia, by early near year.

Chief executive officer, Datuk Capt Mohd Nawawi Awang said the foray into international destinations, would be another milestone in the airlines' history.

It will, he added, pave the way for many more people to travel into Sabah and Sarawak while further intensifying tourist arrivals and business opportunities.

"Hopefully, in the next few days, we will be getting the long awaited approval to operate into the BIMP-EAGA.

"This will be a new dawn for MASwings, and we hope to launch the first phase of our BIMP-EAGA operations by early next year," Mohd Nawawi said at MASwings 4th Anniversary Dinner, here last night.

State Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Masidi Manjun attended the function, on behalf of Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.

The BIMP-EAGA was launched in 1994 as a cooperation initiative by Brunei. Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, all of which are member-countries of ASEAN.

In a joint statement after the conclusion of the BIMP-EAGA Ministerial Meeting in Cagayan De Oro, in the Philippines recently, all four countries agreed to discuss ways to improve air connectivity in the region.

This included the initiative to expand the Memorandum of Understanding on the expansion of air linkages with possible additional points outside of the BIMP-EAGA for co-terminalisation operation.

On MASwings' performance so far, Mohd Nawawi said it had recorded many remarkable achievements, particularly in terms of passenger numbers.

He said there was a marked increase in passengers from 45,000 per month in 2007 to 130,000 per month this year, representing a three-fold increase or equivalent to 300 per cent.

"Our current on-time performance (OTP) is 94 per cent, the best on-time performance ever recorded, higher than any other airline that operates in the country.

"MAswings started with only 450 flights weekly in 2007 and now its operations has increased by more than 110 per cent with 940 flights ," Mohd Nawawi added. - BERNAMA

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