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Malaysian airline to operate flights to Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/18 April) – A Malaysian airline has bared interest to operate routes to Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan, both in Sabah in Eastern Malaysia, through its 68-seater turboprop aircraft.

Dato’ Capt Mohd Nawawi Awang, chief executive officer of MASwings, said in a press briefing during the 1st Equator Asia Air Access Forum at The Marco Polo Davao Wednesday that they are looking to start their Davao operations within this year or early next year.

“Once we start our operations in Davao, we targeted to gain 60 percent of the passenger load factor,” he said.

He said they are planning to have three flights a week from Davao to the two destinations in Malaysia and or vice versa. The company has currently 10 turboprop aircrafts since the airline was launched in 2007, offering affordable fare rates.

The company also plans to acquire narrow-bodied jets like the Boeing 737-400/800 or the Airbus 320/319.

He said they would ensure that their Davao operations will sustain through strengthening the tourism promotions and marketing support. He said there should be a collaboration between the government and the tourism industry.

The company will further study the economic growth, particularly of Davao City.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines reported that the number of passengers in the Davao International Airport is seen to increase from about 2.5 million last year to 2.8 million by the end of this year.

Of the number of passengers last year, 1.284 million were in-bound passengers.

Transportation and Communication Secretary Mar Roxas, in his speech delivered by Undersecretary Jose Perpetuo Lotilla, said that they are looking into the Davao International Airport as the largest international airport in Mindanao.

He said the national government is currently improving the facilities in the country’s main gateways to gain 10 million foreign visitors and 30 million domestic travelers by 2016. About P500 million was allocated for the installation of additional security screening equipment in all 45 airports, including Davao International Airport.

MASwings also eyed to service Puerto Princesa and Zamboanga City to Kota Kinabalu. (MindaNews)

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