KUCHING, June 30 — The skies over Sarawak is expected to be busier starting tomorrow after the state government, through its disaster management committee (SDMC), approved an increase in the number of flights into the state following its success in containing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sarawak Transport Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin today said a total of 331 weekly scheduled flights had been approved between July and August this year, a substantial increase from just once weekly by Malaysia Airlines between Kuala Lumpur, Kuching and Miri during the Movement Control Order (MCO).
“The decision to approve and increase the frequency of flights between West (Peninsular) Malaysia to Sarawak and vice versa was made (on June 15) after taking into consideration various factors,” he said in a statement.
These factors he said include improvement in the COVID-19 containment situation in the state, the need to stimulate domestic economic growth, especially the tourism sector and to facilitate movement of goods and people for business, official and personal reasons.
“For the month of July and August 2020, Malindo will increase their flights to twice daily, Scoot to add another flight weekly from Singapore and Airasia Berhad will increase their flights tremendously including putting Singapore in their routes,” he said.
Lee said although approval had been given to increase flight frequency and on 100 per cent flight capacity, all agencies such as the airport operators and airline operators must follow strictly the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) at the terminal and while inside the aircraft.
These include the screening of body temperature before entering the airport terminal, requirement for crew and passengers to wear facemasks and to use hand sanitisers, with additional requirement for passengers to download and complete their information on the MySejahtera app.
“(Passengers are also required to) fill in the e-Health declaration form at http://sdmc.sarawak.govy.my , advised to download the COVIDTrace Sarawak and Qmunity apps besides subjected to random PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) sample on arrival,” he added.