Sarawak’s boutique airline set to take flight by year-end

THE Sarawak government is optimistic about its state-owned boutique airline commencing operations by the end of this year or early 2024, said Sarawak’s Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

This development is expected to facilitate easier travel for artistes from Southeast Asia to attend the Asean International Film Festival and Awards (AIFFA) in Kuching next year.

“We will have our very own airline flying around Southeast Asia and, probably for the next AIFFA, those within our region can fly directly to Kuching using our own airline,” news portal The Borneo Post quoted him as saying.

The initiative for a Sarawak-owned boutique airline was first proposed two years ago by the state’s premier Datuk Seri Abang Johari Openg, who envisioned an airline operated by Hornbill Skyways.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim expressed support for the plan in April, citing potential benefits like reduced airfares between the Peninsular and East Malaysia.

Moreover, Karim noted the airline’s potential, revealing that it would not be limited to operating solely within Sarawak and Sabah.

Instead, it aims to provide connectivity to certain cities in Southeast Asia, which would strengthen regional ties and open up new travel possibilities.

However, the success of the state-owned boutique airline will depend on various factors including effective management, adherence to safety standards, competitive pricing and marketing strategies to promote its services.

Furthermore, the airline will have to navigate the challenges posed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the ever-evolving aviation industry. – Aug 3, 2023


Main photo credit: Astro Awani

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