MAHB'S October passenger movements surpass 1 million mark for first time this year

Passengers queuing up to check-in at KLIA main terminal. - AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Monthly domestic passenger movements across Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd’s (MAHB) network of airports in the country increased three-fold to 1.18 million passengers in October this year compared with the 362,000 passengers recorded in September.

This increase of 226 per cent followed the lifting of domestic travel restrictions which had also contributed to the group achieving more than one million total passenger traffic movements in Malaysia for the first time this year.

Meanwhile, the group’s combined operations in Malaysia and Turkey recorded a total of 4.1 million passenger movements last month which was a 28 per cent increase from September.

"The recent announcement of the vaccinated travel lane (VTL) between KL International Airport (KLIA) and Singapore’s Changi Airport, as well as the Langkawi international travel bubble and the upcoming travel corridor between Malaysia and Indonesia will further improve passenger traffic in the coming months.

"Government to government (G2G) initiatives to facilitate safe international travel will certainly contribute to the recovery of the aviation industry that has been severely affected by the imposition of travel restrictions due to COVID-19,” MAHB managing director Datuk Iskandar Mizal Mahmood said in a statement today.

He said MAHB is optimistic that there is an inherent demand for travel, be it for business or leisure.

On the part of the industry players, Iskandar Mizal said MAHB has to ensure that safety measures are strictly implemented and adhered to so that passengers can travel with peace of mind and do not experience any deterioration in service level.

He also added that pre-COVID-19, the KLIA-Changi route was the world’s busiest international flight route for two years in a row, in 2018 and 2019, recording more than 30,000 flights a year.

Iskandar Mizal believes that the same demand will continue to exist for this route.

Malaysia Airports’ asset in Turkey, the Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (ISG) continues to consistently record encouraging passenger traffic movements, which signals Turkey’s strong recovery in the aviation sector.

In October, ISG registered 2.7 million passengers with a 13 per cent increase from the previous month for international passenger traffic movements.

Turkey’s high vaccination rate at 72.4 per cent of its adult population and the roll-out of its very own COVID-19 vaccine called Turkovac have boosted the confidence of international tourists to visit the country. On the whole, ISG is still the main contributor to the group’s total passenger movements at 66 per cent.

Year to date, Malaysia Airports had also registered 869,445 metric tonnes for its total cargo operations up to October this year, representing a significant increase of 26 per cent from the same period last year.

Homegrown cargo player, My Jet Xpress Airlines Sdn Bhd had announced this month that it would be increasing its fleet by an additional two aircraft in December.

The cargo airline is also seeking to expand its flight routes to China with four new routes and plans to transport cargo from China to India via Kuala Lumpur. - Bernama

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