KUCHING: Poor visibility that was limited to a mere 350m forced the Kuching International Airport (KIA) to be closed for about two hours.
The airport runway was closed at 7am yesterday due to thick haze, resulting in flight cancellations and delays.
Senior airport manager Mohd Nadzim Hashim said the runway was reopened for flight operations at 9.10am after visibility improved.
He said 25 flights were cancelled and eight delayed as of 3pm, affecting nearly 4,000 passengers.
Of the cancelled flights, 11 were arrivals and 14 were departures from KIA. The cancellations involved 22 AirAsia and three MASwings flights.
The delayed flights were all operated by Malaysia Airlines Bhd, involving two arrivals and six departures.
Mohd Nadzim said AirAsia reinstated one flight departure from 11.55am to 4.15pm yesterday.
“Malaysia Airports advises all passengers to check with their respective airlines on their flight schedules before coming to the airport,” he added.
The Kuching and Samarahan divisions continued to experience unhealthy air quality yesterday.
At 3pm, the Air Pollutant Index (API) was 116 in Kuching and 120 in Samarahan.
Seven other areas in the state recorded moderate readings while Kapit had good air quality with an API of 49.
State Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said the haze had affected tourism in general but he was hopeful that Sarawak could achieve its target of five million visitors this year.
“The haze has lasted for about one month but tourists are still coming. I think we can possibly achieve our target or at least be within that range,” he said, adding that Sarawak had received about two million visitors from January to June.Related stories:
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