Resumption of flights by three international airlines testament to confidence in operations at KL International Airport.
The aviation industry suffered a major blow due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic but the situation does seem to be getting better at airports in Malaysia. The strict Movement Control Order (MCO) imposed by the government back in March restricted interstate travel but with the lifting of the MCO in June, there could be seen a slight boost in the travel and tourism sector. Many Malaysians took this opportunity to visit their family or go on holiday. Travellers may have had reservations about flying at first, but many soon saw that flying was safe and secure, thanks to measures put in place by Malaysia Airports and onboard planes.
At KL International Airport (IATA Code: KUL), more international airlines are resuming their operations, which Malaysia Airports attributes to their confidence in the safety standard operations procedures at KUL that have been practiced since early in the year. This can be seen in the rising number of passenger traffic movements at the airport. In September, KUL recorded 1.7 million in passenger traffic, which is a 19% increase from August, and a 9.8% increase in aircraft movements at 27,010. Meanwhile, at Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (IATA Code: SAW) operated by Malaysia Airports, a total of approximately 2 million passenger traffic movements were recorded in September 2020, with 5 international airlines currently operating at SAW.
One of the contributors to continuous operations at Malaysia Airports are freighter airlines. Whether delivering precious Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) or importing and exporting commercial goods, cargo shipment by air has been going strong amidst the pandemic. Malaysia Airports reports that air cargo operations in Malaysia have been relatively stable. From January to August 2020, data shows that cargo operations in Malaysia averaged at about 65,000 metric tonnes per month, compared to 76,000 metric tonnes a month in 2019 - a slight dip, yet showing resilience nonetheless.
In fact, it seems that cargo flights are very much in demand, as exhibited by the newest route introduced by freighter airline Pos Asia Cargo Express. The new route runs from KUL to Sibu Airport (IATA Code: SBW) in Sarawak and operates six times a week using a B737-400F aircraft.
Group Chief Executive Officer of Malaysia Airports, Dato’ Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh said that KUL has maintained the same number of freighter airlines operating from the airport since 2019. “This proves that KUL remains an attractive regional hub for aviation,” said Dato’ Mohd Shukrie.
“With the upcoming operationalisation of the e-fulfillment hub at KLIA Aeropolis - a joint venture between Malaysia Airports and Alibaba group’s logistics unit, Cainiao – it will further cement KUL's position as a regional distribution hub,” he added. It does look like operations at KUL will only get busier in days to come and it’s nothing but good news to Malaysia Airports as well as to fellow Malaysians.