Air travel confidence up, KLIA remains attractive regional hub – MAHB


KUALA Lumpur International Airport (KUL) remains an attractive regional hub for aviation with three more international airlines resuming operations in early October on the back of increasing confidence in air travel following effective COVID-19 safety measures.

In a statement today, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) said the international airlines were British Airways which offered four flights a week from Kuala Lumpur to the United Kingdom and beyond, Oman Air (twice weekly flights to Muscat) and Ethiopian Airlines (weekly flight to Addis Ababa).

MAHB group chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh said there were currently 21 freighter airlines operating in KUL, including charters.

He said although there was an initial dip in air cargo tonnage in March and April due to a reduction in belly cargo capacity, this capacity crunch was immediately taken up by full freighter airlines.

“This proves that KUL remains an attractive regional hub for aviation

“With the upcoming operationalisation of the e-fulfillment hub at KLIA Aeropolis, a joint venture between Malaysia Airports and Alibaba group’s logistics unit, Cainiao, it will further cement KUL’s position as a regional distribution hub,” he said in the statement.

According to MAHB, airports in Malaysia continue to see gradual monthly increases in both passenger and traffic movements.

In September 2020, passenger traffic movements rose by 19 per cent from August to 1.7 million, while aircraft movements increased by 9.8 per cent to 27,010.

Meanwhile, MAHB’s operations at Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport continue to see close to two million passengers last month with five international airlines operating at the Turkey’s airport to date.

“This led to the group registering a total of 3.5 million passenger traffic movements in September 2020,” the airport operator said.

MAHB said a freighter airline, Pos Asia Cargo Express, recently introduced a new route from KUL to Sibu Airport that operated six times a week using a B737-400F aircraft.

Throughout the year, air cargo operations in Malaysia had remained relatively stable, it said.

Despite the significant drop in passenger aircraft movements, cargo movements had shown resilience, whereby data from January to August 2020 showed that cargo operations in Malaysia averaged about 65,000 metric tonnes a month compared to about 76,000 metric tonnes a month in 2019, MAHB added.