Singapore's budget airline Scoot resumes flights to Kota Kinabalu


KOTA KINABALU: Singapore’s low-cost carrier Scoot has resumed its services to Sabah, making it the first international airline to do so.

The Scoot Flight TR492 touched down at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport at about 9pm on Friday carrying 150 passengers, most of whom were foreign tourists.

The aircraft was given a water cannon salute as it arrived and passengers were given a warm Sabah welcome by a group dressed in traditional cultural attire as they entered the arrival gate.

State Tourism, Culture, and Environment Assistant Minister cum Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai was on hand to greet Scoot passengers and hand out goodie bags.

Scoot launched its first direct flight from Singapore to Kota Kinabalu on Dec 3, 2019, but its operations were halted when the global Covid-19 pandemic struck the following year, affecting the tourism and airline industries.

Prior to the pandemic, Kota Kinabalu was Scoot’s eighth destination in Malaysia after Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh, Kota Bharu, Kuantan, Kuching, Langkawi, and Penang.

“We are encouraged to see that international airlines continue to make Sabah their preferred destination and operational hub.

“For us, having flights coming from Singapore is important because Changi Airport receives hundreds of flights from cities all over the world and the Singapore - Kota Kinabalu route offers connectivity to potential international visitors to Sabah,” said Bangkuai.

The Sabah Tourism Board has planned several promotional initiatives to woo Singaporeans to return to Sabah.

From April 22-28, he said, STB and state tourism industry players attended the Travel Malaysia Digital Fair in Singapore.

Through the Fair, Singaporean consumers were presented with a wide range of tourism products and stays, highlighting popular packages such as wildlife, nature, and adventure.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Sabah received 126,000 passengers through Singapore. Singaporeans account for 34,000 of the visitors.

“In the near future, more international airlines are expected, with Royal Brunei Airlines flying over on May 6th. Following our recent fruitful discussion, Korean airlines will also be coming," added Bangkuai referring to his meeting with top management officials from Jin Air, Air Busan, Jeju Air, and Air Seoul in Korea.

“Tourism activity is ramping up. This indicates a positive tourist arrival and we expect the arrival to grow, especially when guidelines to ease international tourist entry are put in place," he added.

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Sabah , tourism , Scoot , Joniston Bangkuai

   

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