KUALA LUMPUR, July 9 (Bernama) -- The government is taking steps to encourage more airlines to fly to Labuan or to increase flight frequencies in an effort to boost the island's tourism sector.
Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Aziz Kaprawi said today the steps included holding bilateral talks with other countries to establish air traffic rights between Malaysia and the countries involved.
"For example, last month, the ministry reached an agreement with the British government in London to enable British airlines to fly to any destination in Malaysia including Labuan," he said in reply to a question from Rozman Isli (BN-Labuan) in the Dewan Rakyat today.
Aziz said among the other steps was to include Labuan as a liberalised destination under the Asean Multilateral Agreement on the Full Liberalisation of Passenger Services.
"Under this agreement which was signed and ratified by Malaysia this year, the airlines of Asean countries are allowed to fly to any of the region's destination with no limit to frequency, capacity and type of aircraft."
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Aziz also said that the government would hold air talks with Australia next month to increase air traffic rights for the whole of Malaysia for flights from Australia.
To a supplementary question from Datuk Noor Ehsanuddin Mohd Harun Narrashid (BN-Kota Tinggi) on claims that MAS Wings had reduced its flight frequencies to Labuan, Aziz admitted to this, saying that the airline had cancelled its flights to Labuan in April and May following the resignation of its pilots.
"I was informed that 27 MAS Wings pilots had resigned and moved to other places," he said.
Aziz said MAS Wings was now training its new pilots and the airline's flight frequencies, particularly in Sabah and Sarawak, would be back to normal by the end of this month.
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