KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) said that Australian Airlines has started non-stop flights from Sydney to Kota Kinabalu.
The new service, which began on Sunday, is expected to provide a major tourism boost for Sabah and Sarawak, MAHB said in a statement.
According to AFX-ASIA, Australian Airlines, a wholly owned budget-flight subsidiary of Qantas Airways, is using Boeing 767-300s to operate a once-weekly service on the route. The flight time is approximately seven hours.
The move is seen as a step towards normalisation in the region’s air links following the crippling effects that the deadly Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus had on Asia’s tourism industry.
“The effort to encourage air travel and tourism is in full throttle and will help boost passenger movement to domestic and international destinations,” MAHB said.
In KUCHING, Bernama reports that MAS will resume its Kuching-Kota Kinabalu-Hong Kong operations from Thursday after the flights were suspended in April due to the SARS outbreak.
The thrice-weekly flight would be increased to four times a week if there was high demand, said MAS regional manager for Sarawak and West Kalimantan, Mohammed Suffian Abdul Malik .
Speaking to reporters yesterday after handing over MAS sponsorship worth RM200,000 to Sarawak Tourism Board for the staging of World Rainforest Music Festival 2003 here, Mohammed Suffian said that MAS flights to Guangdong, China, would resume soon.
On the World Rainforest Music Festival 2003, he said that MAS was planning a special air travel package similar to that offered during the Formula One Grand Prix.
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