The State Government has no qualms with AirAsia moving back to Terminal 2 over a short term, but the airline should take into consideration the Government's plans to shift the airport to Kimanis, in Papar, in the long term.
"We will see how it goes, perhaps we can allow over a short term, but for the long term we have plans to shift the airport to Kimanis and these are among things that they need to consider," said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.
He said commenting on the recent talks with AirAsia Group Chief Executive Officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes on the matter.
"They said that perhaps in their several years they don't mind to invest a few million because they know the returns will be there to attract more passengers coming from other places," he said.
Shafie also said that over the course of their talks, Fernandes also pointed out that they will have a direct flight from Australia down south and even from other countries.
"These are steps they can add and develop with cost reduction, perhaps when operating in KKIA1 it was quite burdensome for them, they have voiced this out and they want if possible to transfer back to Terminal 2," he said. Shafie was speaking after the launching of Universiti Malaysia Sabah's (UMS) logo and motto on MASwing's ATR 72 -500 aircraft at KKIA, Saturday.
Describing the collaboration between the university and the airline as good and wise, Shafie said it not only attracts more passengers to use MASwings, but also provides discounts to enable UMS students as well as UMS families to use the airline service.
"We realise and know that MASwings at State level has perhaps close to over a million passengers and steps to increase MASwings as a mode of preferred airline is good not only for local but foreign tourists."
In addition, he also encouraged UMS to research and conduct various studies not only in air transportation, but also in terms of train transportation, among others, to enable connectivity at State level to further develop.
"We realise and know Sabah has a strategic location, it is located in the centre of this region, close to Japan, China, the Philippines, Vietnam and Hong Kong.
"We are confident that collaboration between UMS and MASwings will assist our tourism sector in the country as a source of revenue for Malaysia in future.
"Even now we know that the tourism sector has provided much contribution to the country, and hope this collaboration will further boost the sector," he said.
The ceremony was attended by Minister of Education and Innovation Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob, State Police Commissioner Datuk Ramli Din, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (Nisoh) Chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, UMS Vice - Chancellor Prof Datuk Dr D. Kamarudin D. Mudin and MASwings Sdn Bhd Chief Executive Officer Aminuddin Zakaria, among others.
The university is the second varsity to have its logo displayed on a MASwings aircraft, after Universiti Putra Malaysia.
The Memorandum of Understanding between UMS and MASwings to have this done was signed earlier in April.
The MoU covers cooperation in formulating and conducting synergies in training, research, education, tourism, marketability of graduates and airline services.
Aminuddin in his speech announced that MASwings will be offering special leisure fares to all UMS residents with a special discount from the published fares, targeting to have it avaible by Aug 1.