KUCHING, July 20 — The Federal Government will ensure the MASwings takeover process is smooth so that Sarawak’s vision of having its own airline can be quickly realised, said Transport Minister Anthony Loke.
He said the takeover discussion between the Sarawak government and Khazanah Nasional Bhd, which owns MASwings through Malaysia Aviation Group, is proceeding well.
“After the airline is operated (by the Sarawak government), it can focus not only on rural air services (RAS) but may be expanded as a regional airline.
“I am confident the airline will be able to thrive as Sarawak has deep pockets. Airlines need financial resources to operate and Sarawak possesses a huge capital,” he said in his speech at the memorandum of understanding signing ceremony for the RAS takeover between the Federal Government and Sarawak government here today.
RAS is defined as non-economic air services carried out to fulfil the social needs of communities living in the interior of Sabah and Sarawak, and this is part of the Federal Government’s national service to these communities.
The cost for the RAS operation by the operating company is borne fully by the Federal Government in the form of subsidies and aircraft lease rental.
When met by reporters after the event, Loke said the RAS operation is still undertaken by MASwings and his ministry is committed to continuing with the subsidy even after Sarawak takes over the airline.
“The subsidy given to MASwings will continue. The subsidy is about RM210 million a year for both Sabah and Sarawak (operations), and that will be continued.
“We will sign a fresh agreement once Sarawak has taken over MASwings. A fresh agreement will be negotiated and we will proceed with a new agreement for 2025 and beyond because the current agreement lasts until the end of 2024,” he added.