PETALING JAYA: Sabah deputy chief minister Jeffrey Kitingan has called for Sabah and Sarawak to set up a Bornean aviation authority to regulate and safeguard the aviation industry in both states.
Kitingan said this follows reports of issues and delays in the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia’s (CAAM) handling of Sabah’s aviation matters.
“I believe a Bornean civil aviation authority would be able to protect the interests of anyone travelling to and from the Bornean states,” he said in a statement.
Kitingan said there were talented and qualified Sabahans who could staff the aviation authority, including those educated, trained and certified in the US.
“A local focus will also ensure that the people’s interests are protected, including having better control over airfares.
“With better knowledge of local conditions and an understanding of the needs of Sabah and Sarawak, it can build the necessary momentum to alleviate the aviation industry to greater heights,” he said.
In the long run, this would also benefit the nation’s aviation industry.
Kitingan also said a Bornean aviation authority was timely since Sarawak was planning to establish its own boutique airline while Sabah was preparing to enter the air cargo sector with an established logistics group.
“Air travel is also very important, especially to Sabah, because international tourism is a key sector of the Sabah and Sarawak economies.
“In fact, the Kota Kinabalu International Airport is Malaysia’s second largest and busiest airport as well as a regional hub for many airlines with direct international flights,” he said.
He added that he will raise this at the next Malaysia Agreement 1963 federal cabinet committee meeting.