Malaysia Airlines today resumed its direct services on the Taipei-Kota Kinabalu route effective 5 December 2022. This move comes after Taipei recently reopened its borders to international travellers and lifted its mandatory COVID-19 quarantine restrictions for arrivals.
Flight MH069 which arrived Kota Kinabalu International Airport (BKI) from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) at 8.00pm local time was commemorated with a welcome ceremony including water salute to celebrate the passengers. The senior managements from Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB), Sabah Tourism Board (STB) and Malaysia Airports Berhad (MAHB) were also present.
According to Malaysia Airlines’ Group Chief Executive Officer, Captain Izham Ismail said “We are delighted to resume our services to Taipei with twice-weekly direct flights from Kota Kinabalu in addition to seven flights weekly from Kuala Lumpur. This demonstrates the airline’s commitment to facilitating the market’s travel and tourism recovery, as well as driving inbound traffic to ensure that the travel and airlines industry recovers stronger than ever in the post-pandemic era. We believe that our continued collaboration with the Sabah Tourism Board will position Sabah as a preferred holiday destination and strategic transit point for travellers connecting seamlessly to and within the Land Below the Wind, as well as from Kota Kinabalu to neighbouring states via sister airlines Firefly and MASwings. In August this year Malaysia Airlines also began direct services between Kota Kinabalu and Singapore. We restored the majority of our pre-pandemic domestic market capacity across all MAG airlines, and we expect to end the year with 82% capacity of pre-pandemic level.”
With the reinstatement of Taipei, the total international direct air connectivity to Sabah has increased to six (6) cities around Asia after Incheon (South Korea), Singapore, Manila (the Philippines), Bandar Seri Begawan (Brunei) and Bangkok (Thailand). Pre-Covid, Sabah was connected to 20 cities in the Asia Pacific region from countries like China, Brunei, the Philippines, Japan, Australia, Singapore, South Korea, Indonesia and Taiwan through scheduled direct flights.
Puan Noredah also added that, “Bird watching has a big following in Taiwan. The connectivity will surely create more choices for the birding community there to consider Sabah, as we are only 3.5 hrs away from Taiwan. With a total of 688 resident and migratory birds and 15 Important Birding Areas, we believe Sabah can offer the best experience for the bird watching enthusiast. Other potential segments for STB to tap into for this market includes diving and hiking”.
The airline will operate the twice weekly direct flights starting from 5 December 2022 which will depart from BKI-TPE via MH068 and depart TPE-BKI via MH069. The flights will be operated by B737-800 aircraft, equipped with 160 seats, comprising 16 seats in Business Class and 144 seats in Economy Class.