Commercial flights have stopped coming to Melaka airport, say local tourism players

MELAKA: There are no longer commercial flights at Melaka International Airport (LTAM) in Batu Berendam here and the loss of service is rare, say local tourism players.

At the airport on Tuesday (Sept 5), it was found that check-in desks, a baggage carousel and other counters have been empty since last month with all flights including to Pekan Baru, Indonesia no longer available.

Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) Melaka chapter chairman Khairulnizam Kasim said that commercial flights are crucial for the growth of the local hospitality industry.

“It's sad to know that there are no longer commercial flights at the airport and this is something rare for a tourist state," he said.

Khairulnizam said the airport plays an important role in ensuring steady revenue for the hotels and related industries.

He said flights to the airport are also important for business travellers and those who are coming to the state to attend conferences and events where participants would choose to go on vacation with their families.

“The hospitality industry will be badly affected with no airlines servicing LTAM,” he said.

Khairulnizam said this latest development is also untimely with the state preparing for Visit Melaka Year 2024.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) Melaka Chapter chairman Goh Hock Gin said the halt of commercial flight services will also impact medical tourism.

He said previous direct flights from Penang and Pekan Baru to LTAM were a boost for the local medical tourism industry.

“Most Indonesians come to Melaka for medical tourism purposes and we need more regional flights to LTAM, ” he added.

The airport was busy in September last year with direct flights from Penang and Pekan Baru after it was badly impacted for three years due to the pandemic-enforced hiatus.

On May 15, LTAM saw another direct flight route from Pekan Baru operated by Wings Air.

A pilot who requested anonymity told The Star that airlines operating at LTAM have not given solid reasons for suspending services to both the routes.

The Star has reached out to the Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Ab Rauf Yusoh for comment.

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