MIRI: Air services into the far reaches of interior Sarawak are constantly disrupted by the thick haze blown from neighbouring Kalimantan.
Folks living in the remote regions of this vast state had to make regular changes to their travel plans due to the problem. They complained that the Fly Asian Xpress (FAX) flights on Twin-Otter aircraft had become very unpredictable of late.
The mainly farming residents had been facing difficulties booking flights out to Miri and Lawas, as well as transporting their rice and other agriculture produce to towns and the city for sale.
“The dangerously low visibility at many rural airstrips – like in Bario, Ba’Kelalan and Long Seridan – has forced FAX to cancel or reschedule flights at short notice,” said Ba’Kelalan state assemblyman Nelson Balang Rining.
“However, it is not the fault of the airline. Flights have to be cancelled or rescheduled at very short notice because visibility can suddenly drop. There is no way the airline or the pilots can know the conditions beforehand,” he said.
“Even when the skies over the city and towns are clear, the haze can be very thick in regions near the border with Kalimantan.”
On schools in the highlands, Balang said that from feedback he had gathered, exams had been progressing smoothly. He said the Education Department had already flown the exam papers to the interior schools much earlier, thus there would be no disruption to the exam timetable.