The prospects of Sarawak establishing its own "boutique airline" inched forward this week with Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim agreeing in principle to the proposal and promising to take it to a cabinet meeting on April 19, 2023.

A scheduled carrier based in the Malaysian state of Sarawak is a longstanding project of State Premier Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg. He sees a state-owned homegrown airline as the solution to the high fares charged by incumbent carriers who fly into Sarawak's key ports of Kuching and Miri. The premier wants Malaysia's sovereign wealth fund, Khazanah Nasional Berhad, to invest in the airline.

"Looking at the performance and capability of the Sarawak government, I have agreed in principle to the proposal of setting up another airline company by the Sarawak government," said Ibrahim earlier this week while in Kuching. “I agree to the proposal. In fact, in our Cabinet meeting last week and at the meeting on Wednesday, the details, like expensive airfares and the setting up of a new boutique airline, as suggested by the Sarawak state government, will be discussed."

Under the premier's proposal, local state-owned charter operator Hornbill Skyways (Kuching) will operate the new airline's fleet. If the planned startup does secure government financial backing and gets off the ground, it will require a significant invest in aircraft and crews. Abang Johari wants to link Sarawak with Kuala Lumpur International, Singapore Changi, Hong Kong International, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi, and ports in Indonesia using his new airline. However, the Hornbill Skyways fleet presently comprises one Beech (twin turboprop) Super King Air B200 GT, two Beech (twin turboprop) King Air 350Is, and one Bombardier Aerospace Challenger 605, plus various rotary wing aircraft, and it currently lacks the capability to service such routes.