Passenger traffic in July up 3-fold

by BERNAMA/ pic by TMR FILE

TOTAL passenger numbers at Malaysian airports increased more than threefold to 1.3 million with aircraft movements doubling to 22,600 in July 2020, according to Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB).

The airport operator attributed the increase to domestic travel by locals since the opening of domestic tourism as well as a reflection of improved sentiment and confidence in the public to resume air travel locally.

“The steadily growing traffic is also an indication of the confidence of both local and international airlines to increase flight services, particularly at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA),” MAHB said in a statement.

MAHB said presently 27 airline companies are operating global flight routes to 30 cities in 20 countries with 14 of them making at least one weekly flight, to cater to the demand for repatriation, which also includes transit for flights connecting at KLIA.

To date, these active operations and routes have translated into approximately 149 weekly flight frequencies at KLIA. There has also been an increase in cargo capacity offered by airlines, resulting in higher aircraft movements.

“Besides the 20 freighter airlines operating in Malaysia delivering cargo containing goods from origin countries to the country and vice versa, the local carriers have also converted some movements from passenger to cargo flights,” it explained.

MAHB group CEO Datuk Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh said the positive recovery rate has reinforced its optimism that the air travel industry will gradually return to normalcy.

On top of those operating from KLIA right now, he said more than 30 other foreign airlines have indicated that they will resume operations once borders fully reopen.

“In fact, Turkish Airlines recently resumed operations at KLIA on July 18 with their brand-new B787-9 Dreamliner fleet,” he said.

Meanwhile, MAHB’s Turkish operations at Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport also registered increasing numbers, with passenger traffic and aircraft movements doubling to 1.2 million and 9,300 respectively, resulting in the total passenger traffic movements at MAHB’s entire network surpassing the two million mark for the first time since the imposition of travel restrictions.