SKS Airways, a new low-cost Malaysian carrier, launched short-haul flights to holiday island resorts on Tuesday, resuming domestic travel after months of closure due to the COVID-19 outbreak last year.
SKS became the first carrier to travel to Pangkor, a northern tax-free island, with its inaugural trip from the smaller Subang airport near Kuala Lumpur. It will also use 19-seater Twin Otter turboprop aircraft to fly to northeastern Redang island, a popular scuba diving destination and southern Tioman island. There are no commercial flights to these islands right now.
Other airlines in the country, like the region’s low-cost carrier AirAsia, are also fighting to recover from the pandemic’s effects.
“As a new company, we are nimble, adaptable, and flexible, allowing us to seize any possibilities that present themselves.” At the debut, SKS Airways director Rohman Ahmad said, “We are positioned ourselves to capitalise on the existing pent-up demand for domestic travel.”
The SKS Group, a real estate firm situated in southern Johor state, owns SKS Airways. The airline stated that its initial concentration will be on island and coastal resorts with connections to major Malaysian cities.
In the long run, SKS plans to grow regionally to Southeast Asia and southern China, according to Rohman.
The inauguration of SKS, according to Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong, will boost domestic tourism. Following the gradual reopening of the country’s borders, he noted, Malaysian airports have noticed an increase in travellers.
Malaysia had only 11 million air passenger traffic last year, according to Wee, with numbers increasing in the last two months of 2021. According to him, aviation passenger traffic is expected to increase by up to 45 percent this year, from almost 120 million in 2019.