by HARIZAH KAMEL / pic by TMR FILE
MALAYSIA Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) network of airports registered two million passengers in April 2021 against a low base in April 2020, when the first full lockdown was imposed.
The figure was achieved despite continued interstate and international border closure in Malaysia, and interstate city suspension and temporary border closure to passengers from nine countries in Turkey.
According to MAHB, in April this year, a total of 548,000 international and 1.4 million domestic passenger movements were registered.
On the local front, airports in Malaysia registered 630,000 passenger movements, an increase of 365.5% over April last year.
International and domestic sectors recorded 107,000 and 523,000 more passengers than in April 2020 respectively.
The Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) has further improved its ranking to be listed in the world’s top 9 airports in the first quarter of 2021 (1Q21), in the over 40 million passengers per annum (mppa) category.
The Airports Council International (ACI) recently announced the results of the global Airport Service Quality (ASQ) that benchmarks the world’s best airports.
In a statement yesterday, MAHB group CEO Datuk Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh (picture) said although MAHB is facing an extreme contraction of traffic, the group is not complacent when it comes to ensuring its services and facilities are at the highest level.
KLIA achieved a score of 4.99 over 5, from last year’s score of 4.98. Apart from KLIA, the group’s efforts to improve service levels saw the Langkawi International Airport (LGK) named as the world’s third-best airport in the 2-5 mppa category scoring 4.97 over 5 for the ASQ survey during the same period.
“The encouraging results borne by the airport community’s efforts at both KLIA and LGK in upholding exceptional services and safety measures in the new travel norm will certainly help restore passenger confidence,” Mohd Shukrie said.
He added that the group will continue to leverage the lull period caused by international and domestic travel restrictions by carrying out various initiatives to heighten passenger experience and ensure airport readiness when passenger traffic picks up again.
Last month, the total number of passenger movements for MAHB was approximately two million for its local network of airports as well as its Turkish asset, Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (SGIA).
The country’s border remains closed and Movement Control Order continues to be imposed as daily Covid-19 cases have been rising again.
Nevertheless, total passenger movements for the local network of airports in April was registered at 630,000 which was close to an 8% increase compared to the preceding month.
This was borne by the pick-up in airline operations for the domestic sector with an increase of 161 weekly flights or 19% growth compared to March 2021, sustaining an average load factor above 57%.
AirAsia Group Bhd registered the highest average load factor of 60% in April.
As for Turkey, the country has recently announced lockdown relaxation allowing interstate travel during non-curfew hours.
In April, due to the previous partial border closure, SGIA recorded 1.4 million passengers which was a 20% decrease from the preceding month.
Despite the decrease, local airlines such as Pegasus and AnadoluJet remain optimistic with the former, adding Shymkent, Kazakhstan to its network of operations with a weekly flight that is expected to launch this month.
To date, they are operating a total of 56 domestic and 79 international routes in 48 countries.