KUALA LUMPUR (June 11): Malaysia Airports has seen a 15% increase in average daily flights since the implementation of the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) and said it is expecting passenger numbers to pick up again.
In a statement, it said the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) saw average daily flights increase from 97 to 122 over the past two days, as the country’s three main airlines - Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia and Malindo Air - have resumed local flight routes with new offerings to entice Malaysians to travel locally.
Over the past two months, aircraft movements were mainly contributed by repatriation and cargo flights. There was a contraction of total passenger movements due to the MCO.
Its traffic report for May 2020 showed that the airport operator saw a 97.8% contraction in passenger traffic movement compared with the same period a year earlier.
The international sector declined by 99.3%, while the domestic sector declined by 96.4%, it said.
Overall aircraft movement for the month fell 88.5% over the previous year, as international and domestic sectors declined 92.8% and 85.5% respectively.
However, Malaysia Airports is optimistic on the air travel industry, as AirAsia’s flight schedule showed an average 22 domestic flights daily between June 10 and June 30 from Kuala Lumpur to destinations including Alor Setar, Johor Bahru, Kota Bharu, Kuala Terengganu, Langkawi and Pulau Pinang, as well as four daily flights to international destinations such as Singapore, Jakarta, Kuala Namu and Pekan Baru.
“This is an encouraging development for the air travel industry. We are also seeing similar patterns at other international and domestic airports nationwide where the passenger movements have increased three-fold over the last couple days since the relaxation of the restrictions,” said Malaysia Airports group chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh.
He hails the move by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture to revive domestic tourism by launching the Cuti-Cuti Malaysia recovery plan and look forward to the reopening of international borders in the future.
“We are already seeing several countries such as Singapore, China, New Zealand and Australia implementing the ‘travel bubble’ or safe travel corridor between countries and hopefully Malaysia too can see this happening soon,” said Mohd Shukrie.
Conditions are also expected to improve at its wholly-owned Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport in Turkey, which was temporarily closed for two months at the height of the pandemic.
The airport has resumed operations since June 1, with intercity travel resuming and low-cost airlines Pegasus and Anadolujet Airlines resuming domestic flights.
Malaysia Airports has implemented stringent safety measures since the start of the pandemic, amid the new operating environment, with efforts to be enhanced further in anticipation of the increase in passenger numbers at its airports.
Besides facial recognition and contactless security screening, it is also exploring additional technologies to keep the airport environment sanitised at all times in an efficient manner.
“We would like to reassure all passengers that our airports, local and abroad, promise a safe travelling experience as we continue to work collectively with all our airline and retail partners and stay guided by the Standard Operating Procedures issued by the Government and guidelines to restart operations by the International Civil Aviation Organisation, International Air Transport Association and Airport Council International,” Mohd Shukrie said.