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Malaysia Airports, A Growing Cargo Hub

Aviation
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The airport operator grows its cargo operations by welcoming Central Airlines as its 18th cargo airline

The aviation industry around the globe and in Malaysia is undoubtedly one of the most affected industries by the COVID-19 outbreak. However, the situation is certainly not the same for air cargo as demands for air freight continue to expand.

In mitigating the impact of the pandemic, Malaysia Airports has welcomed its 18th cargo airline, Central Airlines (IATA Code: I9) as its new airline partner to operate three times weekly from KL International Airport (IATA Code: KUL).

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The Chinese cargo airline from Shenzhen, China - based in Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airports (IATA Code: CGO) was first established in 2019 with a fleet size of five aircraft. With its new partnership with Malaysia Airports, Central Airlines joins Kargo Xpress and GetJet Airlines to start operations at KLIA this year.

Malaysia Airports group chief executive officer, Dato’ Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh said that attracting new airline partners will strengthen Malaysia’s position as a regional cargo hub, specifically as an e-commerce regional distribution centre, even during the pandemic.

In June 2021, the Group recorded a 26% month-on-month increase in total cargo tonnage to about 78,200 metric tonnes. The Group’s airports in Malaysia recorded an increase of 47% to 3,600 metric tonnes while its fully own airport in Turkey, Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (IATA Code: SAW), registered an increase of 26% to 74,600 metric tonnes.

“The air cargo logistics sector has been the silver lining in mitigating the impact of the pandemic. For 1H 2021, we recorded approximately 468,400 metric tonnes for total cargo operations in Malaysia, an increase of 22% from the same period last year,” he said adding that encouraging cargo growth has been seen for the Group, especially for its airports in East Malaysia.

The top five airports which registered the highest growth were Tawau, Sibu, Limbang, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching with growth ranging from over 70% to 700% at these airports driven mainly by higher volume of e-commerce transactions.

“As part of brand promise and service delivery, we aspire to connect the rural communities throughout the country. Currently, in Sarawak alone, Malaysia Airports operates eight other STOLports which are key socio-economic contributors,” said Dato’ Mohd Shukrie, adding that the upgraded status would strengthen the town’s prospects in contributing to the local economic development.

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