More MASwings flights to Mukah soon, says PM

MUKAH: The government is planning more MASwings flights to Mukah, says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

He said the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) would implement the rationalisation of the Rural Air Services (RAS) to increase the number of MASwings flights to the fishing town.

Ismail Sabri also said the rationalisation would involve a review of the RAS objectives and costs involved.

"The review also covers the route and frequency of RAS flights, fares, airplanes and the mechanisms to provide subsidies to customers from time to time," he said during the officiating ceremony of the airport in Mukah on Saturday (Dec 4).

Also present during the launch was Gabungan Parti Sarawak chairman Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong and Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) Datuk Hanifah Hajar Taib.

Ismail Sabri said MASwings began operations to the interiors of Sabah and Sarawak in 2008 through the RAS agreement signed on July 3, 2008.

Beginning 2019, Ismail Sabri said the Public Service Obligation for Rural Air Services Agreement (PSO for RAS) was signed between Putrajaya and MASwings.

"Based on that agreement, MASwings provides services for 40 routes in Sarawak and Sabah using the ATR72 and Twin Otter Viking aircraft," he added.

Ismail Sabri said the four air services linking Mukah to main cities or towns in Sarawak use Twin Otter aircraft. The weekly flights to the four routes are Kuching-Mukah (28), Miri-Mukah (seven), Sibu-Mukah (three), and Bintulu-Mukah (two).

Meanwhile, Ismail Sabri also said the newly built Mukah Airport could accommodate more visitors and would contribute to Sarawak's economic development.

"This new airport is equipped with a new terminal building facility, a 1,500m-long runway that can be used by ATR aircraft capable of carrying more passengers than the Twin Otter," he said.

Ismail Sabri also said the completion of the Mukah Airport was an engineering and transportation milestone as it took place during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"It is a significant achievement for Malaysians and it reflects the success and development that we will achieve as a country."

The construction of the Mukah airport began in 2017 and it officially started operating on June 17.

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