KUALA LUMPUR: More flight frequencies to Adelaide is what South Australia Deputy Premier Kevin Foley hopes for as the state thrives from the mining boom.
He hopes Malaysia Airlines (MAS) will increase its current four times weekly flights to the capital city and wants AirAsia X to consider flying there some day.
Currently, accessibility from Adelaide is limited as most of the flights operated by MAS are running on high load. Foley was also fully aware that a decision in times of high jet fuel prices for an airline to increase frequencies would be difficult.
“We had a good meeting with MAS managing director Datuk Seri Idris Jala. I can’t say (if MAS will increase frequencies to Adelaide) although we are hopeful,” he said in an interview.
Foley, who is also Treasurer and Minister of Industry and Trade for South Australia, was in Kuala Lumpur for a three-day visit where he met several officials, including those from MAS, Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) and YTL Corp, with the aim of boosting trade ties, encouraging investment and promoting South Australia as a destination for skilled workers.
On AirAsia, he said: “We have not met them but are looking to present our case to AirAsia.”
MAS flies to most cities in Australia while AirAsia X now flies to the Gold Coast and will begin services to Perth next month.
Foley would not disclose the outcome of his meetings with officials from Petronas or YTL Corp but these companies have investments in Australia. He called for more investments from Malaysian companies as he believed South Australia was poised to grow stronger with the mining boom that had seen the Australian economy flourish over the past few years.
To Foley, the mining boom would continue as long as there was growing appetite for minerals from China and India. Commodities are in their seventh year of gains and, despite weakening commodity prices the past few days, mining should remain Australia’s economic backbone until at least 2013.
A report said record levels of mining investment, together with a ramp-up in production, would insulate the economy from the global downturn.
The boom has created thousands of jobs, thus helping property prices to soar. It would boost Australia’s export revenue by at least A$58bil in the company year, a recent report said, adding that the nation’s mining spending rose 22% to A$41.5bil in the 12 months ended June 30.
According to Foley, South Australia would continue to gain from the boom. The rush to extract minerals would continue but the spillover effects would see industries such as electronics, manufacturing, agriculture and even the property sector, flourish. South Australia has its share of copper, nickel, gold and iron ore mines. It also has some of the largest reserves of uranium in the world.
Foley said a few new uranium mines would come on stream in the next two years as 109 mining licences had been issued and there had been some exploration successes lately.
“We are a major jurisdiction in the world for uranium,” he said.
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