by FAYYADH JAAFAR / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
MALAYSIA Airports’ network of airports in Malaysia recorded a total of 2.3 million passenger movements in November 2021, surpassing the two million mark for the first time since Covid-19 outbreak in April last year.
Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) said the 77% increase from the 1.3 million recorded in October was mainly contributed by domestic passenger movements, which continued to improve since the easing of interstate travel restrictions.
Aside from the increase in passenger movements, there was also a surge in domestic aircraft movements, which grew by 43% from 18,966 in October to 27,084 in November.
Meanwhile, the group’s combined Malaysia and Turkey operations recorded a 15% increase from October at 4.72 million, with Malaysia Airports contributing 49% to the total performance.
The group’s operations in Turkey at the Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (ISG) have consistently recorded more than two million passengers a month for the past several months, including November.
Turkey’s high vaccination rate and more relaxed quarantine requirements continue to drive ISG’s international passenger movements, which stood at 1.03 million passengers in November, accounting for nearly 43% of the airport’s total passenger traffic.
“The encouraging demand seen in domestic travel in the last two months is good news not just for the aviation sector,” MAHB MD Datuk Iskandar Mizal Mahmood said.
He noted that retail and food and beverage partners in the airports have also reported a surge in sales during this period, adding that the airports are now looking forward to the resumption of normal operations soon.
“At KLIA, more than 63% of outlets have resumed operations. In fact, passengers are able to see the outcome of our commercial reset initiative at the airport.”
He stated that many stores have renovated during the lockdown and have also incorporated the latest technology, such as self-ordering kiosks and table service through QR codes, to ensure faster service while minimising contact with service staff for better safety.
Last June, Mukah Airport in Sarawak was launched by the group to replace the previous Mukah Short Take-Off and Landing Port. With an annual capacity that is eight times greater than before, the new airport can handle up to 264,000 passengers a year.
With a runway length of 1.5km and suitable for turboprop aircraft operations, the new airport is set to enhance connectivity within Sarawak and boost the local economy, especially in the areas of domestic tourism.