Malaysia Airports looks forward to welcoming back passengers at all airports as airlines operate more daily flights amidst a boost in domestic travel.
The global COVID-19 outbreak has slowed down many businesses and industries due to the unfortunate situation where movement restrictions had to be imposed in order to curb infection. This includes the aviation industry, which is among the earliest casualties with passenger numbers dropping drastically over the past two months while aircraft activity mainly consisted of repatriation and cargo flights.
However, the situation does seem to be looking up, especially for local tourism in Malaysia following the latest implementation of the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) as announced by the government. Thanks to the diligence of Malaysians in keeping compliant with movement restrictions and safety precautions during the earlier Movement Control Order (MCO) period, the nation is now enjoying the more relaxed RMCO. With this new development, Malaysians can now travel inter-state with many taking this opportunity to travel back to their hometown or enjoy a much needed break at a local holiday destination.
This is good news for Malaysia’s aviation industry. The three main airlines in the country, namely Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia and Malindo Air have started offering tickets for local flights, and the numbers are encouraging. At KL International Airport (IATA Code: KUL), daily flights have increased from 97 to 122 in the first half of June 2020, indicating a 15% increase. This includes flights to Alor Setar, Johor Bahru, Kota Bharu, Langkawi, Penang, Kuching, Miri, Kota Kinabalu and Labuan.
Group Chief Executive Officer of Malaysia Airports, Dato’ Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh said that they are seeing similar patterns at other international and domestic airports nationwide. According to reported data, passenger movements have increased three-fold at most airports since the relaxation of the travel restrictions.
“We welcome the move by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) to revive domestic tourism by launching the Cuti-Cuti Malaysia recovery plan and we also look forward to a time when international borders can reopen,” Dato’ Mohd Shukrie said. He also mentions how several countries including Singapore, China, New Zealand and Australia are implementing the ‘travel bubble’ or safe travel corridor between countries, and hopes that Malaysia would soon follow suit.
With the increase in passenger traffic at the airports, safety will always be a top priority in order to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Since the start of the pandemic, Malaysia Airports has been implementing stringent safety measures to comply with the new operating environment. Even back then, the measures were set in place in anticipation of an increase in passenger numbers when domestic travel resumes. This includes the implementation of stringent cleaning procedures and sanitisation schedules, as well as facial recognition and contactless security screenings, to assure the safety of passengers.
In addition to safety procedures already in place, Malaysia Airports has also implemented several new measures to ensure a safer environment at the airport in order to better serve passengers. One of these new measures includes temporary pharmacy kiosks located at the entrances of terminal buildings where visitors can purchase face masks, which are compulsory to be worn when entering the building. Social distancing markers are still prominently laid out to help maintain a 1-metre distance between passengers while facial recognition technology, contactless security screening and full adoption of mobile payment applications are used in efforts to reduce physical contact throughout the airport. Hand sanitisers are readily available at high traffic points, while Malaysia Airports will be implementing the Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation method that uses ultraviolet light to effectively eliminate microorganisms.
Malaysia Airports takes the safety of passengers very seriously in order to curb the spread of COVID-19, especially with the expected rise of passengers with domestic travel restrictions relaxed in accordance with the RMCO. We’re sure that many Malaysians are looking forward to travelling again, enjoying chicken rice balls and cendol in Melaka, or rojak pasembor in Penang, and we look forward to welcoming back passengers around the country!