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Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Halting of HK Airlines' Kuching services catches trade by surprise
Hong Kong Airlines' abrupt suspension of its
twice-weekly services between Hong Kong and Kuching effective February 25 has
taken the Sarawak trade by surprise.
The airline's chief commercial
officer/director, Li Dian Chun, had issued a notification last month about the
cessation of service, although a reason was not stated.
Gracie V Geikie, Sarawak Exco for Malaysian
Inbound Tourism Association (MITA) expressed shock at the announcement as the
route was just inaugurated nine months earlier in May 2016.
She said: “This is a great loss as the
(Sarawak) business community has just started inking collaborations and MoUs to
spur trade and business development. It’s a pity the airline did not seek
industry engagement before calling off this route.
“We will have to go back to the drawing board
and look at linkage strategies again to put on our destination profile for
organisers planning their meetings and conferences in Kuching," she added.
Geikie also voiced her concerns if other
airlines would still be inclined to mount services to Sarawak, a culture and
nature destination, as opposed to other beach destinations that tend to attract
a more acquiescent stance, Mary Wan Mering, director at Sarawak Tourism Board,
commented: “Our initial agreement with the airline was to service the route for
three years. However, the airline has made a commercial decision and we have to
accept it. It will not upset our overall marketing strategy for China which is
to attract charter flights.”