The Sabah government has expressed surprise that MASWings is considering stopping the KK-Tawau and KK-Sandakan air routes.
Deputy Chief Minister cum Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, Datuk Christina Liew said the two routes are among six to be halted beginning January 1, 2019.
She said this is definitely not good news for the people of Sabah.
“Just when the tempo of tourism growth is gaining momentum, they (MASwings) decide to stop operating the routes.
“Such move will have an undesirable impact on the economy and tourism industry,” she said in a statement Wednesday.
Liew acknowledged the fact that MASwings has been complementing the services of major airlines like MAS and AirAsia.
The Minister also voiced her concern over the possible suspension of the Tawau-Tarakan route.
“We urge the Ministry of Transport and the Malaysian Aviation Commission to reconsider their decision as this will adversely affect the rakyat in Sabah.
Undoubtedly, we depend on MASwings to fly passengers to smaller towns,” she said.
Liew suggested that the authorities maintain the current operations for another year so that the Public Service Obligations (PSO) Agreement can be reviewed and re-negotiated accordingly.
“Certainly I will take up the matter and raise it in Parliament two weeks from now,” she added.
It is understood that the PSO Agreement was entered into under the previous government. MASWings have yet to issue any statement on the matter.