KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) will be sponsoring the flight tickets for performers of the Borneo Jazz Festival and Rainforest World Music Festival this year. The airline inked a two-year partnership agreement with the Sarawak Tourism Board yesterday to be the official sponsor for the events in 2016 and 2017, entering their fourth year of collaboration with the tourism board. The Borneo Jazz Festival will be held on May 13 and 14 at the Park City Everly Hotel in Miri while the Rainforest World Music Festival will be held from Aug 5 to 7 at the Sarawak Cultural Village in Kuching. MAB chief commercial officer Paul Simmons said the collaboration makes commercial sense for the airline and is a “true win-win” situation as it will also inspire travel and drive traffic to Miri and Kuching. On whether the sponsorship department has been dented by MAB’s trimming down of expenditure, Simmons said while the company is more “prudent” in their spending, they are certain that this is a smart investment. “Clearly, we have to manage our budgets responsibly; this kind of sponsorship in particular, strikes us as something we should be doing with our investment. “We are delighted to renew the sponsorship for this world class event. We have complete confidence in both of these events as well as the Sarawak state... it’s a really good initiative going forward,” he told a press conference after signing the agreement here yesterday. Charles McKee, head of marketing at MAB, said other event sponsorships which the company is involved in this year are the World Table Tennis Championship, World Youth Jazz Festival and the Skate Asia competition, adding that “a sensible amount” has been allocated for sponsorship activities. Commenting on the proposed aviation fee hike by the Department of Civil Aviation, Simmons said he hoped the increase in charges could be moderated after a meeting held to discuss the issue between the government and representatives from the aviation industry. “The proposed increase is too big a charge for an airline to absorb; there will either be a flow-through in terms of high fares or lower capacity and lower seats. “An airline typically doesn’t operate at a huge margin so any additional charge is too much,” he noted.