MAHB passenger traffic drops further in November by 30.8% due to CMCO

Gradual resumption of airline operations and introduction of new routes continue to provide an optimistic outlook of recovery


MALAYSIA Airports Holdings Bhd’s (MAHB) passenger traffic for November fell further on a month-on-month basis by 30.8% to 1.8 million, primarily attributed to the extension of the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) across key states.

Domestic and international passenger movements registered 1.3 million and 500,000 passenger movements respectively, according to its exchange filing yesterday.

Its Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (SGIA) in Istanbul, Turkey, also saw a slight decline in passenger movements due to the reintroduction of a partial curfew taken by the Turkish government to contain the rise in Covid-19 cases.

Istanbul SGIA recorded 1.5 million passengers during the month.

Despite the second consecutive monthly decline in passenger traffic, MAHB in a separate statement stated that it is confident that passenger numbers at its airports will gradually recover with Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd being the latest airline to resume operations at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

The Hong Kong carrier made a comeback at KLIA last month after a three-year hiatus, offering weekly flights from KL to Hong Kong. KLIA is also looking at the inaugural flight of Taiwan’s Starlux Airlines Co Ltd from Taipei in January 2021.

“This new flight is an addition to its Taipei-Penang route which started early this year. As air travel slowly returns to normalcy, the airport continues to be diligent in the implementation of various safety measures to boost passenger confidence,” MAHB said in a statement yesterday.

AirAsia Indonesia is looking to resume its operations at the Penang International Airport from Kuala Namu this month.

This will be the sixth foreign airline to resume operations in he state.

Additionally, local community airline FlyFirefly Sdn Bhd is making Penang its second hub after Subang Skypark.

The low-cost carrier will be introducing new routes from the state to Kuching and Kota Kinabalu from January next year.

“The gradual resumption of airline operations and the introduction of new routes continue to provide us with the optimistic outlook of recovery in the aviation sector. With the interstate and interdistrict travel ban recently lifted and the upcoming long holiday season, we are expecting passenger movements to improve this month,” MAHB stated.

The airport operator added that aircraft passengers can travel confidently as its airports have continuously implemented Covid-19 safety measures since the onset of the pandemic.

Recently, MAHB introduced an initiative for airport guests to have a safe dining experience in the form of a contactless ordering and payment system at the food and beverage outlets.

Guests will be able to make their order and pay online without the hassle of queuing at the counter. The new technology will be rolled out at its network of airports in phases starting with KLIA.

On cargo operations in Malaysia, MAHB said the commencement of the Cainiao Aeropolis Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) last month would provide smart supply chain support for the global “11.11 Singles Day” online e-commerce sales.

“The eWTP hub is a joint venture between MAHB and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s logistic unit, Cainiao Smart Logistics Network Ltd. The hub occupies 2.6 million sq ft with 1.1 million sq ft of warehouse space,” it said.

The new facility is projected to increase cargo volume by 700,000 tonnes, doubling KLIA’s current volume to 1.4 million a year by 2029.

MAHB noted that cargo operations in Malaysia continued to show resilience by recording an average of 65,000 tonnes a month from January to November compared to 78,000 tonnes a month in 2019.