MAHB: Recovery in sight with 6 new foreign carriers

by ANIS HAZIM / pic by TMR FILE

MALAYSIA Airports Holdings Bhd’s (MAHB) international traffic gets a further boost with the addition of one new foreign carrier and the recommencement of five others last month.

MAHB said Cambodia’s low-cost carrier (LCC) Lanmei Airlines launched its inaugural weekly flight connecting Phnom Penh to Kuala Lumpur (KUL), utilising the Airbus A320 aircraft.

“It is the third airline after Malaysia Airlines (MH) and AirAsia to serve this route,” MAHB said in a statement today.

Meanwhile, the five airlines that have recommenced operations in Malaysia include IndiGo, India’s leading LCC operating the Chennai and Tiruchirappalli flights to KUL, and Thai Smile Airways flying the Bangkok to Penang route.

In East Malaysia, Royal Brunei Airlines resumed flights from Brunei (BWN) to both Kuching and Kota Kinabalu (BKI), Jin Air from Korea reinstated its Incheon to BKI and Philippines AirAsia also resumed its Manila to BKI route.

MAHB MD Datuk Iskandar Mizal Mahmood (picture) noted that the group recorded a total of 1.03 million international passenger movements in Malaysia, hitting the one million mark for the first time since March 2020 when borders closed.

“With the reopening of borders two months ago, Malaysia Airports has recorded an average monthly increase of more than 50% in international traffic.

“The demand is there for airlines to seize the opportunity and speed up recovery. For an airport operator, every new entry of a foreign airline into the country signals positive growth for the aviation landscape,” he said.

In regards to the new carriers, MAHB has a total of 43 foreign airline partners operating at its network of airports in Malaysia.

“We look forward to attracting more new airline partners this year while welcoming returning airlines,” Iskandar added.

Apart from that, the group also witnessed the introduction of new routes in May, such as the much-awaited KUL to Doha flight by MH and the domestic Subang to Tioman flight by SKS Airways.

Meanwhile, the AirAsia group of carriers resumed their flights from KUL to BWN, Male, Chiang Mai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Kochi, Sihanoukville and Siem Reap as well as the Miri to Singapore route.

For May, MAHB recorded a total of 7.1 million passenger movements for its local airports and the Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (SAW).

According to MAHB, its traffic performance continued to grow and surpassed the seven million mark for the first time in two years with both its Malaysian and Turkish operations recording the highest passenger volume for the year at 4.57 million and 2.6 million respectively.

“This encouraging performance was fuelled by Aidilfitri celebration, the Sabah and Sarawak Harvest festivals and the onset of summer holidays in Turkey that had all happened in May,” MAHB said.

On the local front, domestic passenger movements continued their recovery trajectory by recording more than three million passenger movements for the first time since February 2020 or 91% of pre-Covid levels.

Additionally, traffic momentum gained in May continued into June with an 11% increase in daily average passenger movements to 163,000.

The SAWs leisure traffic, airlines route and capacity expansion also continue to drive passenger movements by recording 1.2 million international passengers in May, which is also the highest volume to date for the year.

Meanwhile, Anadolujet and Pegasus commenced new services to Milan-Bergamo and Helsinki with daily and four times weekly flights respectively.