Sarawak airline hornbill skyways

A boutique state airline may be in Sarawak’s future, which would be open for business and leisure travel. According to Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg, the airline would be established under Hornbill Skyways, a state-owned regional charter air service.

Johari said that the airline would penetrate crucial tourism hubs such as Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Bangkok, and Hong Kong. However, the promise of a state airline comes with a catch — it will only be established if the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) coalition is re-elected as the government in the upcoming state polls, set to be held on 18 December.

The incumbent Chief Minister doubled down and stressed that the plan is not an empty promise, adding that he has already calculated the cost and that it would not be a financial burden. He said that the boutique airline would allow Hornbill Skyways to become more commercial, targeting small-scale flights carrying between 100 and 120 passengers.

Hornbill Skyways hangar at Kuching International Airport. [Image: Hornbill Skyways.]

While the plan does seem exciting, Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii criticised the announcement and said it was the second time in three years that Johari had promised a state airline for Sarawak, which has yet to materialise. He also called the plan “not economically feasible”, suggesting the government to instead provide incentives to existing airline companies to reduce ticket prices.

In 2019, Johari revealed that the state government was interested in taking over MASWings, Malaysia Airlines’ sister-company operating rural flights in East Malaysia, for the purpose of developing a Sarawak airline.

(Source: Malay Mail.)

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