Nascent airline SKS Airways quietly suspended one of its three destinations temporarily just five months into operations. Perak Housing, Local Government, and Tourism Committee chairman Nolee Ashilin Mohammed Radzihe revealed that the short-range carrier put the Subang-Pangkor route on ice on 29 May due to an underwhelming response from tourists.
According to the chairman, the reason behind this is that many travellers would rather take the land route as the travel distance is reasonable and does not take too much time, giving the highway route from Kuala Lumpur as an example. Be that as it may, Nolee said that SKS Airways plans to bring the Pangkor route back during peak seasons such as school breaks.
The explanation came after Perak Menteri Besar Saarani Mohamad said that SKS Airways suspended flight services connecting Subang with Pangkor Island due to a lack of tourists using the route. However, Nolee clarified that despite the service’s failure to gain traction, the overall number of tourist arrivals has been encouraging.
On a related note, the Menteri Besar also called for a detailed study of plans by Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) to extend the Pangkor Airport runway from 732 metres to 1.5 kilometres. He said that the airport, which recently resumed operations this year after not being used for eight years, has a short runway that is not suitable for large planes.
SKS Airways is one of two airlines, the other one being ultra-low-cost carrier MYAirline, that received a full air service licence (ASL) from the Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) in late 2021. The regional airline officially launched flights from Subang to Pangkor Island and Redang Island in January while adding a service for Tioman Island just last month.
While the Pangkor route may be gone for a while, the carrier is doubling down on its two remaining destinations, Redang and Tioman, by increasing round trips to twice daily starting from 1 July. It also revealed back in January that it was working on introducing flights from Johor Bahru to Tioman Island, but no update has been given on this so far.