Malaysian airline SKS Airways took to the skies for the first time on January 25. The new low-cost Malaysian carrier took short-haul flights to holiday island resorts as domestic traffic resumed following months of suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As a new set-up, we are nimble, agile and flexible and able to tap into any opportunities that arise. We are positioning ourselves to capitalize on the current pent-up demand for domestic travel,” SKS Airways director Rohman Ahmad said at the launch.
The first SKS flights flew from Subang airport near Kuala Lumpur to Pangkor, a northern tax-free island of Malaysia. SKS Airways became the first airline to fly to that destination. The airline will also fly to northeastern Redang island, popular for scuba diving, and to a southern island called Tioman. There are no commercial air services to these destinations. SKS Airways is using 19-seater Twin Otter turboprop aircraft for the flights.
SKS Airways to focus on island and seaside destinations
Interestingly, SKS Airways is making its debut in Malaysia’s aviation industry during a time of the COVID-19 pandemic, when region’s budget airline AirAsia and other carriers are struggling for their sustenance. According to SKS Airways director Rohman Ahmad, the airline is positioning itself to capitalize on the current pent-up demand for domestic travel. “The fares will be reasonable,” he added.
The SKS Group, a real estate firm situated in Malaysia’s southern state of Johor, owns SKS Airways. The airline stated that its initial focus would be on the island and seaside resorts, with connections to crucial towns around Peninsular Malaysia. SKS plans to grow regionally to Southeast Asia and southern China in the future.
According to Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong, the arrival of SKS Airways will enhance domestic tourism in the region. Following the gradual reopening of the country’s borders, Malaysian airports have noticed an increase in the count of passengers. Malaysia had only 11 million air passenger traffic last year, but the numbers picked up in the last two months of 2021. Region’s air passenger traffic is estimated to rise as much as 45% in 2022 from the pre-pandemic figure.