MAHB assures travellers that air travel is safe and with all the efforts it has been implementing, they can travel seamlessly and with peace of mind
by AZALEA AZUAR / Pic courtesy of MAHB
THROUGH the “1 Improvement 1 Week” initiative by Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB), almost 150 of weekly improvements have been implemented by the organisation so far in their pledge to host joyful connections and a better travelling experience for their guests passing through the airports nationwide.
Today, the campaign that kick-started in 2018 has entered its fourth year and MAHB is still maintaining its pace in continuously making improvements. In 2020 alone, the group had successfully implemented nearly 50 initiatives.
Since the onset of the global Covid-19 pandemic early last year, the focus of the campaign is not only on providing a seamless passenger journey at the airport, but also ensuring that the safety and security measures of the new travelling norm are well-implemented.
Numerous efforts have taken place in containing the spread of Covid-19 and efforts are still ongoing to restore air travel confidence.
According to group CEO Datuk Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh, MAHB remains vested in maintaining the highest levels of safety without compromising its service levels.
“We maintain our focus on carrying out these improvements at our airports as we want to give assurance to travellers out there that air travel is safe and with all the efforts we have been implementing, they can travel seamlessly and with peace of mind,” he said.
In preparing itself with the return of passengers once the borders are open, MAHB is also taking this opportunity during the low peak season to continue with its critical mission
upgrades, such as replacement of aerotrains, rehabilitation of runway and replacement of baggage handling system at the KL International Airport (KLIA). These are among major improvements currently underway by the group.
In a similar development, the expansion plan for Penang International Airport is also underway and travellers can look forward to the Langkawi International Airport’s new passenger boarding bridges or aerobridges, which are expected to be completed by next year.
Embracing Digitalisation, Contactless Tech
Among other improvements that the group has implemented is Malaysia’s first e-commerce platform known as shopMYairports, featuring exclusive travel retail products. This virtual store allows customers to purchase goods and collectibles online from the network of airports, as some of the goods sold are available only at the airport.
The public can now seamlessly enjoy the wide selection of branded cosmetics, perfumes, fashion and lifestyle products from the comfort of their homes simply by just logging-in to www.shopMYairports.com.my.
As for retail and food and beverages (F&B) operations on the ground, MAHB has also taken the extra mile to introduce new contactless technology for passengers to safely purchase their items by paying through e-wallets at the counter.
Not only that, food ordering has also been digitalised with an online menu and payment can simply be made by scanning the QR code at the F&B outlet. Queue lines are now made minimal and physical distancing can be practised efficiently.
High-end technology is also used to ensure that the airports remain safe as we curb the spread of the pandemic. Robust thermal scanners and sneeze-guard protectors have been installed at KLIA and 19 other airports nationwide.
These sensitive thermal scanners can automatically detect body temperature from a distance, while the sneeze-guards serve as additional barriers at the check-in counters and areas with high traffic touchpoints.
The cleanliness of the terminal is also maintained through scheduled disinfection exercises using advanced methods, such as the Atomising Fog Machine, Blu-Ray Anion Nano Spray Gun and Micro Mist Blower.
These contactless disinfection methods minimise contact by the general worker at common places, while providing the same level of protection for passengers and the surrounding airport community.
At KLIA Main Terminal alone, this disinfection exercise is carried out eight times daily.
KLIA Main Terminal is also using the latest ultraviolet (UV) disinfection technology in its toilets through the installation of an automated device, namely the Ultraviolet Chamber which produces UV light that interrupts the transmission of airborne infectious pathogens.
At the same time, automated handrail UV light sterilisers have been implemented at the escalators in KLIA Main Terminal to further eliminate germs and protect passengers.
Prevention is Better than Cure
MAHB is stringently complying to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and ever since the onset of the pandemic, it is compulsory for every person entering the airport to put on a face mask to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
For the convenience of both passengers and visitors, MAHB has also placed a mask and hand sanitiser vending machine at Door 3 of the departure hall at KLIA Main Terminal.
They have also installed automated hand sanitiser dispensers throughout strategic locations at all airports, as well as physical distancing markers in the lifts, queuing areas, seats and shuttle buses to ensure guests comply with the SOPs to maintain at least one metre apart from each other.
With health screening in place for arriving passengers, more chairs and sitting areas have been added at the immigration arrival hall, so that passengers can wait for their turn comfortably.
New Additions for Enhanced Experiences
Other passenger experiences that were improved via the “1 Improvement, 1 Week” initiative last year included the creation of a “rainforest” mural at the C6 aerobridge at KLIA Main Terminal.
This “rainforest” provides an immersive and instagrammable “sense of Malaysia” experience to arriving passengers disembarking from the aircraft.
As they approach the baggage reclaim area, they get to enjoy the newly enhanced landscape comprising orchids and other tropical flowers that represent the country’s unique flora.
There is also a new freshwater aquarium at the departure hall at KLIA Main Terminal, for both the young and old to enjoy before they head to the boarding gates where vending machines have been installed for their further convenience to get some snacks and food prior to their flight.
At klia2, the revamp of the Immigration Arrival Area and Domestic Departure Hall has resulted in a more spacious area and they are equipped with better facilities, including priority counters and lanes for disabled passengers, as well as families with small children.
New carpets were also installed at 37 boarding gates to brighten up the ambience and provide comfort to the passengers.
For families travelling with loved ones who have hidden disabilities, such as autism, KLIA’s new Butterfly Effect amenities ensure inclusivity and fulfil the organisation’s brand promise of hosting joyful connections.
Passengers will be provided with an exclusive lanyard, so that the airport staff are able to assist accordingly at all the main touchpoints.
The main facility called the “Calm Room” located at Level 5 of KLIA Main Terminal is a safe haven for these special passengers to take a breather as navigating through an airport can be a daunting experience.
There are sensory walls and activity stations for them to calm their senses through simulation play. The sensory walls are also located across the terminal for their further engagement at any point during their journey.
These were among the efforts that MAHB has put in making travelling more memorable and comfortable, especially in this new norm.
Safer Roads, Better Car Parks
Providing safe roads to and from the airports is also part of the improvement initiative by MAHB.
New reflective stickers have been installed on road barriers and lamp posts to enhance visibility while driving in low-light conditions.
This #brightstreetforever initiative is a joint effort with the Public Works Department.
In the same development, passengers can now enjoy the new 500-bay car park area at Car Park E, KLIA Main Terminal, which can be conveniently accessed via the Sama-Sama Hotel’s link bridge.
Apart from that, the future-proof “Find My Vehicle” kiosks, which are located at the short-term car park Block A and B, allow guests to easily locate their vehicles by just keying in their car plate numbers.
Other Revamps and Improvements
Meanwhile, both the Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan Airports have implemented the disinfection system for inbound and outbound luggages, to ensure that airport safety remains at the highest level.
At Limbang Airport, the seating area was given a fresh new look, while additional check-in counters were installed at Kuantan to minimise queues and waiting time.
The prayer room at Kota Bharu Airport’s departure hall was refurbished with enhanced flooring to give Muslim travellers a more comfortable visit.
The ablution area has also been installed with new anti-slip flooring for added safety.
Kota Bharu Airport is now also equipped with a new self-ticketing system with two autopay machines, while its car park has been upgraded to a total of 350 parking bays.
Mohd Shukrie said every little improvement had contributed to the increased satisfaction of passengers in the past year.
“This is evident from the recent achievement of KLIA in the Airport Service Quality global survey, where we attained a perfect score for the fourth quarter of 2020, and placed at the top spot for the category of over 40 million passengers per annum.
“Many initiatives were expedited, so that we can safely welcome passengers and give them an elevated experience once the borders reopen.
“While we work on the larger projects, such as the enhancement of our baggage handling system and the replacement of new aerotrains, we will continue to implement quick wins to further restore passenger confidence and stay cognisant with the evolving demands of passengers and the aviation industry,” he concluded.