KUANTAN: The Pahang government has initiated talks with several airline companies to revive operations in and out of the Sultan Ahmad Shah Airport (LTSAS) here to boost tourist arrival. State Unity, Tourism and Culture Committee chairman Leong Yu Man said that before the Covid-19 pandemic, low-cost carrier AirAsia, Firefly and Malindo Air, since rebranded as Batik Air, used to ply the Kuala Lumpur- Kuantan route. "Currently, we only have Malaysia Airlines servicing the Kuala Lumpur- Kuantan route and Singapore's low-cost airline Scoot Air servicing the Singapore-Kuantan route, and vice-versa. Talks have begun with several Malaysian airlines companies and we are hoping for progress.
"The Pahang government is trying our best to get the airlines to return and revive the routes which they once served. We understand that some delays could be caused by the airline companies flying the more popular and profitable routes," she told reporters after a welcoming ceremony to receive the first batch of 117 passengers who arrived on Scoot Air's Airbus A320 aircraft at (LTSAS) here today. Scoot resumed flights to Kuantan on Nov 30 last year after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. Operations were suspended last month for aircraft maintenance before resuming today. The flights, operating three times a week - Wednesday, Friday and Sunday - will depart from Changi Airport. Leong said commercial carrier SKS Airways, which is currently operating the Subang-Pulau Tioman and Subang- Pulau Redang route is also mulling introducing the LTSAS- Pulau Tioman route in the future. Meanwhile, she said tourism industry players from Singapore including travel agents and members of the media will be participating in a four-day familiarisation trip to Pahang in June this year.
"Singapore has been Pahang's biggest tourist source country, with a total of 116,220 people arriving last year. The familiarisation trip will allow us to provide updates on the latest tourist attractions and how people could spend their holidays in Pahang. "Special sessions will be arranged between the travel agents in Pahang and Singapore's tourism industry players so that it will be easier for them to coordinate the holiday trips here instead of getting in touch with agents outside Pahang to visit the state," she said. Reviving the flights between Kuala Lumpur-Kuantan and vice versa will bring huge relief to the people of the state, including tourists, as many have been left with limited flights daily plying in and out from the LTSAS.