15 February 2021
The reciprocal green lane/travel corridor arrangement (RGL/TCA) between Malaysia and Indonesia is expected to improve air traffic numbers between the two countries.
Malaysia Airport Holding Bhd (MAHB) group chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh said furthermore, Malaysia’s national Covid-19 vaccination programme will certainly help the airport operator’s efforts in seeing increased traffic numbers.
He said since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, MAHB have been vigilant in ensuring the highest safety standards at the airport so that people can travel safely.
“With the programme in place, we also hope that more travel bubbles can be implemented similar to the one that will happen between Indonesia and Malaysia, perhaps with other countries within Southeast Asia (SEA).
“Pre-Covid-19, nearly 50 per cent of our international traffic is from the SEA region,” he said.
The airport operator said despite the drop in overall passenger traffic movements in Malaysia last month, international passenger traffic had increased by about 25 per cent from the preceding month, even with border closures and strict quarantine measures.
This underscores the latent demands for travel especially for business, employment and education purposes, it said.
Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) captured the bulk of the increase at 97 per cent of the total international traffic recorded.
During the same month, KLIA had also welcomed Starlux Airlines’ inaugural flight for the Kuala Lumpur-Taipei route thus increasing connectivity within the region.
This twice-weekly route is an addition to Starlux’s Taipei-Penang route that started early last year.
According to MAHB, air traffic data for January 2021 has shown that border closures and re-imposition of domestic travel restrictions once again adversely affected air traffic movements.
However, it has been showing initial signs of gradual recovery after the easing of travel restrictions in the second half of 2020.
Passenger traffic movements in January 2021 for Malaysia operations dropped by about 30 per cent compared to the preceding month.
Group traffic movements are still largely contributed by operations at Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport.
Despite the implementation of curfews and flight suspensions from the United Kingdom, South Africa and Denmark, Sabiha Gokcen airport still recorded 1.3 million passenger movements, about 60 per cent of the group’s total of 2 million in January 2021.
Meanwhile, cargo operations remain resilient with KLIA welcoming its latest cargo airline partner from Lithuania, Get Jet Airlines last week.
The private charter airline has chosen KUL to be its main base for its Jakarta-Kuala Lumpur route and will look to connect to more destinations from South East Asia to Central Asia.