Malaysian airports record passenger growth amid recovery MCO

After months of being almost deserted, KLIA is beginning to see activity again during the recovery MCO. — SAM THAM/The Star

Malaysia Airports (MAHB) has seen an increase of passenger numbers since the implementation of the recovery movement control order (MCO) on June 10.

It credits the momentum to the reopening of local flight routes by Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia and Malindo Air.

MAHB adds that over a period of two days, it saw a gradual increment in flight movements offered by the local airlines at Kuala Lumpur International Airport where the average daily flights went from 97 to 122 flights, an increase of 15%.

MAHB group chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh said this is an encouraging development for the air travel industry.

“We are also seeing similar patterns at other international and domestic airports nationwide where the passenger movements have increased three-fold over the last couple of days since the relaxation of restrictions.

“The airport community including our airline partners and retailers share the same optimism with the easing up of the restrictions not just in Malaysia but also globally, ” he said.

Mohd Shukrie also welcomed the plan by Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry to revive domestic tourism.

He added that the country should look into opening its borders to international tourists too.

“We are already seeing several countries such as Singapore, China, New Zealand and Australia implementing the ‘travel bubble’ or safe travel corridor between countries and hopefully Malaysia too can see this happening soon, ” he said.

During the MCO and subsequent conditional MCO, aircraft movements were mainly contributed by repatriation and cargo flights.

The latest traffic report for May 2020 shows that MAHB registered a contraction in passenger traffic movements of 97.8% in May 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.

The international sector registered a 99.3% decline whereas the domestic sector declined by 96.4%.

Since the early days of the pandemic, MAHB has implemented stringent safety measures to comply to the new operating environment.

“We would like to reassure all passengers that our airports, local and abroad, promise a safe travelling experience as we continue to work collectively with all our airline and retail partners, ” he said.

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