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Malindo may start direct KK-Japan flights soon
Published on: Thursday, January 12, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: Malindo Air may start operating direct flights to Japan during the second half of this year, said State Tourism, Culture and Environment Assistant Minister Datuk Pang Yuk Ming.

He said the airline, a Malaysian-Indonesian joint venture, will be operating on a trial basis first.

"We've been working with Malindo Air to start flights to Japan. Hopefully it will be by the second half of the year on a trial basis," he said after doing a walk-about at the Japan Week fair at City Mall, here, Wednesday.

Pang said in the last few months the airline has started doing charter flights from Tokyo.

He also said direct flights are ideal for Japanese travellers who are known to dislike airport transits.

He believed that having direct flights to Japan would further benefit the State tourism sector which has seen a shortage of Japanese tourists over the past few years.

He said this was due to the travel advisory issued by the Japanese Government on the security situation in Sabah.

"They have been advised by their government that Sabah is still unsafe for travel," said Pang, adding that a similar advisory was also issued by the United States and Russia to their respective citizens.

He disclosed that until October last year there were 22,913 Japanese tourists who travelled to Sabah.

In relation to this, he said the State Government continues to engage with the Japanese Government through its consulate and embassy so as to enlighten them on the actual security situation in the State, especially in Kota Kinabalu.

Nonetheless, Pang expressed confidence that the number of Japanese coming to Sabah will gradually increase in light of the current political situation in the Philippines.

"If we look at what has been happening in the Philippines especially in the manner the President is handling the southern part, I can say that we're seeing a bright future ahead," he said.

Meanwhile, the Japanese Week is ongoing from Wednesday until Sunday (Jan 15) featuring a wide range of Japanese products from food, beverage and travel.

According to the organiser Akiko Yong, the event coincides with City Mall's 10th anniversary which also showcases some cosmetic products which Japan is also famous for.

"It basically covers everything," she said, adding that the organiser has invited Jetro this time around, a Japanese organisation that conducts business matching between Malaysia and Japan.


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