Call to up­grade air­port, build roads

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

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.

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