Call to upgrade airport, build roads
TIOMAN: The federal and Pahang state governments have been urged to invest in expanding the Tioman Island Airport and its runway to boost tourist arrivals.
The airport runway is less than a kilometre long.
Berjaya Tioman Resort general manager Sonny Gan said Berjaya Air was forced to stop flights there in March 2014 as it was not profitable.
He said currently, only Systematic Aviation Services offers flights to the island on its 12-seater propeller planes. A return trip from Subang Airport costs about RM850 per person.
“Presently, the airport can only accommodate 60-seater planes. If bigger planes can fly in, then this island can thrive.
“The ideal plane would be 120-seaters, like the ones offered by Firefly and Malindo. Then, fares can be cheaper,” he said.
The Malaysia Airports Holdings website revealed tourist arrivals through flights dipped significantly since Berjaya Air stopped its services to the island, with a drop of 83.6% in 2014 compared to the previous year.
Gan said he had also been in touch with the Tioman Development Authority on the matter, but was told it does not have sufficient funds for the development.
“Whether it is the federal or state government, they have to set aside some budget so that the island would be easy to access. This may be a long term plan, and even if it takes ten years, then so be it. Let’s make this a destination for all,” he said.
Gan also expressed hope the government would invest in a single road system that connects the whole island by land, as the only option currently is to travel by boat from one village to another.
“Building a road allows connectivity and it is cheaper to travel by road,” he said.