Regional leaders in Timor-Leste have welcomed the launch of MAF’s domestic shuttle service that will provide economic opportunities to communities that would not normally have regular access to air travel.
The scheduled flights, which began in March 2023, transport passengers and freight between seven towns and the capital Dili – giving more Timorese people access to better healthcare, education, trade, and family visits.
MAF, which has served Timor-Leste for more than 15 years, worked closely with local leaders to shape a service that would meet the needs of isolated communities.
Francisco Alves, the municipal administrative secretary of Covalima, welcomed the new domestic shuttle service which will serve the people in Suai, Covalima municipality main town.
“We have many remote areas that are difficult to access by transportation, and we are very excited that MAF wants to provide connectivity of air transportation to help the people of Covalima,” he said.
“We appreciate MAF’s presence because it can help us to get the effectiveness of transportation accessibility and we look forward to collaborating with MAF to bring the transformative change.”
Overcoming the difficulties of past generations:
MAF Country Director in Timor-Leste, Nick Hitchins, shared with regional leaders why this new air service is necessary.
“Previously, the only way to fly with MAF around Timor-Leste was to charter the plane,” said Mr. Hitchins. “Now people can travel for the price of one seat on a plane – a cost which is subsidized by the supporters of MAF.
“The shuttle service helps people to travel across Timor-Leste without a long road journey. It also means essential medical supplies can be transported to communities, and fruits and vegetables can be delivered from farms while they are still fresh.
“We also hope that the airplane can bring doctors to help you, teachers for your schools and tourists who want to explore this area.”
Mr. Hitchins also emphasized his vison that the new service can bring opportunities to give Timor-Leste a strong future.
“The possibilities are limited only by our ability to work together, so we ask you to talk to us about your dreams, your plans and your hopes for the future,” he said.
Arantes Isaac Sarmento, the administrator of Manufahi municipality which includes Same under Manufahi municipality that MAF will fly people to that town.
“First of all, we are very grateful to MAF for bringing the aircraft to operate in our district. We have had this dream for a long time, and MAF helps us to make it happen,” said Mr. Sarmento.
“The people of Manufahi appreciate MAF’s initiative to develop air transport connectivity and connect local communities in bringing people to explore the touristic sites of the district, which also helps to boost local economy.
“We appreciate MAF for this wonderful initiative to assist the local community. We look forward to collaborating with MAF.”
Author: Lobitos Alves