Before we know it, more flights (and more people) may be travelling through Sarawak.
Low-cost airline AirAsia has reportedly been eyeing Sarawak for a while now, as it is an attractive location between Australia and East Asia. Plans to build a low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) has been approved. However, talks to transform Kuching into a low-cost travel hub are still ongoing.
Our neighbouring state is rich in culture, diversity and heritage, and the world is realising it. AirAsia Bhd group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes has called Sarawak a “phenomenal brand” and hopes there will be greater efforts to promote the state.
“Sarawak is a brilliant point between North Asia and Australia. We see it as [the] Dubai of this part of the world. People come out from Australia can stop in Kuching before they go to China and vice-versa; China, Korea and Japan can stop in Sarawak for few days and go down to Australia,” Fernandes said at the Sarawak Dialogue on Monday.
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Of course, Fernandes is looking at more than an LCCT — he wants to make Kuching a low-cost travel hub for wider reach and better connectivity between Australia and East Asia. Sarawak is great for an LCCT because of its relatively low set-up and operation costs; Fernandes cited water and power as the main cost absorbents.
According to Borneo Post, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has welcomed the move. However, he has also assured that the state government and AirAsia are in negotiations to ensure a win-win all round.
There will be a definite tourist boom with increased traffic, which bodes well for local businesses. At the same time, a sudden jump in tourism can impact communities in both good and bad ways. Let’s see what comes out of the talks.
That’s right, AirAsia is planning for more outbound flights from Kuching. At the moment, there are direct flights from Kuching to Shenzhen, Langkawi and Pontianak. You can also fly directly from Bintulu to Singapore.
With big boys Bangkok and Jakarta on the way along with the LCCT, there’s no doubt Sarawakians will have first dibs at travelling without the delay (or pain) of layovers in KL anymore.
As for all of us in Sabah, we’ll probably have stopovers in Kuching soon!
Are you excited about AirAsia’s big plans to make Sarawak a low-cost travel hub? Or do you have other thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.
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Featured Image Credit: Karryon