Tawau is abuzz with the historic arrival of the inaugural charter flight from Nanjing, China on Tuesday.
Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew praised the Sabah Tourism Board (STB) for making the new route possible.
On board the Firefly aircraft were 157 passengers which landed at 5.55am.
Firefly will operate the charter flights three times a week on every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, with a 540-seat capacity per week until the end of March.
“We warmly welcome our Chinese friends and look forward to showcasing the unique cultural and natural treasures of Sabah.
“The launch of direct flights from Nanjing to Tawau is a testament to the growing appeal of our region as a tourist destination.
“I am excited that this new route will contribute to the growth and development of Tawau as a prominent international destination.
“Currently, Sabah receives 42 weekly scheduled flights from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou and Wuhan to Kota Kinabalu with a 7,520 seat capacity a week,” Liew said.
Sri Pelancongan Sabah Chairman Ken Pan represented the Minister at the welcoming ceremony.
He was on hand to supervise the smooth arrival of the flight with the Tawau Airport Management on behalf of the travel agents in China.