Sarawak is set to finalise the acquisition of MASwings Sdn Bhd within the next three months, as announced by Chief Minister Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.
This development follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the management of rural air services by acquiring shares in MASwings, involving the Sarawak Transport Ministry, state-owned Hornbill Skyways Sdn Bhd, and Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG), the parent company of MASwings.
Abang Johari expressed his optimism for the acquisition, with a goal to commence operations by the following year, provided that the due diligence and detailed discussions between state and federal transport ministries progress as anticipated.
Sarawak’s objective is to secure a controlling stake in MASwings, transforming it into the state’s own boutique airline. This regional airline would operate from Kuching as its hub, expanding its reach beyond Borneo to include regional destinations like Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, India, and northern Australia, all within a six to seven-hour flight.
Abang Johari emphasised that this state-owned airline’s primary purpose is to enhance air connectivity, regulate the aviation market, and ensure equitable competition within Sarawak and the broader region.
The focus is on offering essential air services, even on less profitable routes, to ensure that no region is left without air connectivity.
As part of the MoU, a joint working committee will explore the possibility of incorporating the Sabah state government into the equity acquisition discussions, guided by the Federal Government, to further benefit rural air services in Sabah.