MAHB targets 10 new airlines in 2019


Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) aims to attract 10 new airlines — both premium and low-cost carriers (LCCs) — to the country in 2019, especially to its five main airports.

The airports are the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), KLIA2, Penang International Airport, Kota Kinabalu International Airport and Kuching International Airport, said Mohamed Sallauddin Mat Sah, MAHB’s GM for airline marketing.

“We are going to be very focused next year and will continue to pursue many more airlines,” he told reporters after welcoming Citilink Indonesia’s inaugural flight into KLIA yesterday.

Mohamed Sallauddin said the potential airlines might come from China, Middle Eastern countries, the Asian region and other regions as well.

He said Malaysia will be able to attract many foreign airlines due to its variety of tourism attractions and accessibility as some LCCs found it easy for a start-up.

As for 2018, he said MAHB attracted 13 airlines, of which 11 have already commenced operations, while another two by year-end.

The LCC Citilink Indonesia’s aircraft was given a water salute upon landing at KLIA at 12.10pm yesterday following an inaugural flight from Banyuwangi, the eastern-most regency of East Java, an area rich in ecotourism and nature-based tourism.

MAHB is also scheduled to welcome the first flight from TUI Airways (formerly known as Thomson Airways) from Birmingham at the Langkawi International Airport today.

Besides Birmingham, TUI offers long-haul chartered services from two other UK airports — Manchester and Gatwick — to Langkawi with three fortnightly flights on the 797 Dreamliner.

Meanwhile, the Royal Brunei Airlines will commence its Bandar Seri Begawan-Kuching route on Dec 28 with two flights a week.

Mohamed Sallauddin said in total, MAHB added 50 new international routes to its list this year, while international frequencies per week from both local and foreign carriers increased by 458 as of October 2018.

“This year seems to be a very productive year for MAHB in terms of the development of network connectivity, supported by better (travel) demand, promising passenger load and intensive local tourism initiatives from industry players,” he said.

Mohamed Sallauddin attributed Malaysia’s variety of tourism offerings to the better traffic from premium tourists to regular backpackers. — Bernama