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Malaysia Airports Remains Upbeat on Recovery

Inside Story
Writer
Aileen Chow
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With a new airline taking flight and others resuming operations, Malaysia Airports is ready for increased traffic on-ground and in the skies.

As the year 2021 approaches, one of the things many Malaysians are fervently hoping for is to be able to travel far and wide by air and Malaysia Airports looks forward to a time when it can serve guests at full capacity once again.

Last month, KL International Airport (IATA Code: KUL) saw the return of Cathay Pacific after a three-year absence. Cathay Pacific will now offer weekly flights to Hong Kong from Kuala Lumpur. Meanwhile, Malaysians who have been planning to make a trip to Taiwan can look forward to a new airline taking off from KUL, as Starlux Airlines will take its inaugural flight in January 2021, a complementing addition to its existing Taipei-Penang route that began early this year.

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Cathay Pacific has resumed operations at KUL and offers flights to Hong Kong every week.
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AirAsia will be resuming operations at Penang International Airport.

Good news for travellers in the northern region as Indonesia AirAsia resumes its Kuala Namu-Penang route this month at the Penang International Airport (IATA Code: PEN). With this, Indonesia AirAsia will be the sixth foreign airline to resume operations at PEN. On the domestic front, Firefly will commence operations at PEN as its second hub with the introduction of new routes from PEN to Kuching (IATA Code: KCH) and Kota Kinabalu (IATA Code: BKI) starting January 2021.

Now that the holiday season is here and with the lifting of interstate and interdistrict movement restrictions, Malaysia Airports expects to see an increase in the number of passengers opting to travel by air. The airport operator has always prioritised the safety of its guests and staff and it is their unwavering aim to ensure that passengers can travel confidently again.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Malaysia Airports has kept abreast of international best practices and stringently complied with regulations enacted by the Malaysian Government by implementing a host of COVID-19 safety measures.

It is the hope of Malaysia Airports that with new initiatives such as the contactless ordering and payment system at food and beverage (F&B) outlets, guests can enjoy the facilities and amenities provided at the airports with peace of mind. The contactless ordering and payment system – where guests will be able to make their orders and pay online without having to queue at the counter – will first be available in KUL and then at the other airports in its network

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SAW still recorded an amazing 1.5 million passengers despite the challenging times.

At the same time, with the Government of Turkey reintroducing partial curfew in the month of November to curb the spread of COVID-19 infections, operations at the Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (IATA Code: SAW) inevitably took a hit. Nonetheless, SAW still recorded a remarkable 1.5 million passengers passing through its terminals, significantly contributing to over 80 percent of the Malaysia Airports Group’s total passenger traffic movements of 1.8 million in November 2020.

Cargo operations is seeing a rejuvenation, thanks to the hugely anticipated online e-commerce sales events over the past few months. The Cainiao Aeropolis eWTP hub in KUL, a new e-fulfilment hub, commenced operations last month, in time to provide smart supply chain support to the global “11.11 Singles Day” online sales by helping facilitate 24-hour delivery within Malaysia and 72- hour delivery to the rest of the world. A joint venture between Malaysia Airports and Alibaba group’s logistics unit, Cainiao, the eWTP currently occupies an expansive 2.6 million sq fit with 1.1 million sq ft of warehouse space. The new facility is projected to increase cargo volume by 700,000 metric tonnes – which is double of KUL’s current volume – to 1.4 million per year by 2029.

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The Cainiao Aeropolis eWTP hub in KUL helps to facilitate delivery within Malaysia and around the world.

Throughout the past year, Malaysia’s cargo operations sector has weathered the difficult economic climate brought on by the pandemic at a fairly encouraging rate. It recorded an average of 65,000 metric tonnes a month from January to November this year compared to 78,000 metric tonnes a month in 2019. With positive developments on both the passenger as well as cargo fronts when it comes to air transport, Malaysia Airports looks forward to continued growth in the future as air travel picks up.

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