Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg said the airline could not only serve rural areas but also would promote tourism in the two states.
“Connectivity is important, I suggest that Sabah and Sarawak set up our own airline. We can put our heads together and think about this,” he said at a dinner hosted by his Sabah counterpart Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal to mark the official visit of Abang Johari and his Cabinet on Monday (Oct 14).
He said that connectivity would be vital for the development of tourism between the two states.
Speaking to reporters, Abang Johari later explained that a joint airline between Sarawak and Sabah would stimulate the tourism industry of both states as well as put in place a network of hubs in the region.
“If it can be done, we will do it, if not then we look for alternatives on how to develop connectivity as the future of our tourism industry is bright,” he said.
Shafie, meanwhile, told reporters that the idea was good as connectivity was very important for the people.
“I do not see a problem because both states have their own aircraft charter services. Sabah has Sabah Air and Sarawak has Hornbill Skyways,” he said, adding that both states needed to connect rural areas by air links.
“We can study how best to do this. Maybe it is time to look into it,” he said.
Shafie believed that connectivity between the states could extended to other areas in Borneo, including Kalimantan and Brunei.
“For example, if we want to go to Samarinda (in Kalimantan), we will have to take a flight to Kuala Lumpur and then to Jakarta to fly into Samarinda,” he said, though they needed to consider the cost factor as setting up an airline was not easy.
“If it is meant for certain routes, then it is a good move,” he said.