MELAKA: Melaka International Airport (LTAM) is busy again after almost three years of Covid-19 induced hiatus - thanks to direct flights from Penang and Pekanbaru, Indonesia to here.
Batik Air’s Melaka station manager Hemala Arang Kannal said she and her colleagues were kept busy after the flights to both destinations resumed on Monday (Sept 12).
"We are happy to see a big crowd at the airport, especially the long queue at our airline's counter," she said.
Hemala said she never expected to receive such an overwhelming response on Monday morning from locals as well as foreigners.
Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents’ (Matta) Melaka Chapter chairman Goh Hock Gin said the direct flight from Penang and Pekanbaru to LTAM was a boost for the local tourism industry.
"Most Indonesians come to Melaka for medical tourism purposes as well as business trips and we can now have Penangites spending their holiday here," he said.
Goh hoped that LTAM could attract more flights from other regional routes including Sabah and Sarawak.
Earlier at the LTAM, Melaka tourism committee chairman Datuk Muhammad Jailani Khamis said the reopening of the airport after being closed for three years would be able to boost tourist arrivals.
He said the inaugural Batik Air flights would also make Melaka a leading tourist destination in the country.
"The state government is also aiming for direct flights from India through Kochi and Madhya Pradesh, and from Guangzhou and Hainan in China, as both countries have sent their representatives to this state for discussions," he said.
Muhammad Jailani said Melaka recorded 2.4 million tourist arrivals as of June, an increase of 1.7 million or over 200% compared with the same period last year.
"We have planned various exciting activities and promotions to help us achieve the 5.6 million tourist arrivals target by the end of this
year," he added.