MAHB calls for airlines cooperation at Penang International Airport

by TMR/ pic by TMR FILE

MALAYSIA Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) reiterates its call for all parties to cooperate in optimising the operations at Penang International Airport (PIA).

Despite highlighting its concern several days ago, MAHB said the situation in PIA remains the same as before where only about 70% of the check-in counters are being utilised by the airlines.

“Checks over the last five days have showed that the 30 check-in counters dedicated for local airlines are still underutilised due to lack of staff from the airlines,” MAHB COO Datuk Mohd Shukrie Salleh said in a statement issued over the weekend.

“The same goes for the self-check-in kiosks and self-baggage drop facilities provided by the airlines, where at least three of these facilities are not operational at any one time, contributing to long queues for the check-in process,” he added.

The statement also highlighted that low-cost carrier, AirAsia, is allocated five check-in counters and six self-bag drop counters, but only half of the counters were operated.

MAHB expresses hope for the situation and airport situation to improve in the near future, especially in preparation for Experience Penang Year 2020 and Visit Malaysia 2020.

Prior to this, AirAsia Group Bhd CEO Tan Sri Dr Tony Fernandes had complained on long queues at PIA, saying that the airport is poorly designed, notwithstanding the booming tourism sector in Penang.

In response, Bernama reported PIA senior airport manager Mohd Nadzim Hashim as saying that the said airlines must also ensure the facilities such as self-check-in kiosks and self-baggage drop facilities are operational at all times, as it would reduce the long queues and ensure a seamless experience for passengers.

“Checks in the last two days have shown that at least two of the self-check-in kiosks provided by the airlines are not operational and, in fact, some self-bag drop counters have also been used as manual counters due to lack of staff to guide passengers on how to use the self-bag drop facility,” he said in a recent statement.

According to him, PIA has 61 check-in counters and more than 30 are dedicated to local airlines’ operations.

“However, our daily observation shows that not all are manned, even during the daily peak period between 11am and 1pm.

“Usually, only about 70% are being utilised due to insufficient manpower resources provided by the airlines.

“No doubt, this can lead to long queues at the airport,” he added.

MAHB is currently waiting for a development order approval from the Penang Island City Council to fund and undertake expansion at PIA as proposed in the Malaysian Aviation Commission’s Regulated Asset Base framework.