By SHAZNI ONG
Senai International Airport in Johor handled 3.52 million passengers last year, a 13% increase from the number of passengers recorded in 2017.
Senai Airport Terminal Services Sdn Bhd (SATSSB) CEO Md Derick Basir said the growth was mainly driven by domestic passengers with an increase of 9% or 234,650 passengers, from 2.68 million in 2017 to 2.91 million last year.
He also said international passenger traffic rose by 37% or 163,127 to 600,000 in 2018, while commercial aircraft movements were 8% higher with a total of 32,574 landings and takeoffs.
“2018 was our busiest year yet and we are anticipating further growth in 2019.
“The growth was fuelled by the southern region’s rigorous economic activities, escalating the demand for business and corporate travel, as well as the leisure sector,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Md Derick added that the rise in total passenger traffic in 2018 was mainly attributed by the introduction of new routes.
“This includes Seoul by Jin Air; Sanya and Haikou by Malindo Air; as well as Alor Setar and Ipoh by AirAsia, in addition to the increase of flight frequencies for the existing sectors such as Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Kota Kinabalu, Langkawi and Bangkok.
“We are aggressively collaborating with industry players including tourism bodies and airlines to promote Johor as a destination, ultimately the aim is to encourage the demand for more air connectivity,” he said.
Md Derick said the airport aims to handle 3.76 million passengers this year.
“It is going to be a busy and exciting year for us now that we have also expanded our portfolio to manage Kertih Airport in Terengganu.”
SATSSB, a member of MMC Group, is the airport operator for Senai International Airport or formerly known as Sultan Ismail International Airport.
Recently, Senai International Airport was awarded “Asia Pacific Regional Airport of the Year 2018” under the less than 10 million annual passengers category by CAPA (Centre for Aviation) for its leading role in using new biometrics technology and its support of the low-cost carrier model.
Its retail offerings have also improved with the opening of international brands such as Pizza Hut, Gong Cha, WH Smith, O’Briens Irish Sandwich Bar, Boost Juice and Burger King.
The new outlets offer more value and choices for the airport’s users, in line with its aim to increase both international and local retail brands to cater to the growth of passengers’ movement.
“Today, it is not just ‘an airport’ for travelling passengers, but has become ‘the place’ for the surrounding working communities to meet for business discussions,” Md Derick said.