Published on : Monday, August 24, 2020
Malaysia Airports Holdings has received confirmations from 42 foreign airlines to resume their operations by this year, subject to the full re-opening of the borders for Malaysia and the origin countries.
They include Royal Brunei Airlines, which has planned to recommence their flight to Kota Kinabalu International Airport immediately once the border restriction is lifted.
MAHB group chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh said although the recovery from Covid-19 was expected to be gradual, the airport operator was optimistic that the air travel demand would eventually return.
Shukrie said that the historical growth rates of Malaysia traffic between five per cent and six per cent had demonstrated the resilience of air transport to bounce back despite the crises.
He said airlines would generally adapt to changes and hence the possibility of restructuring their fleet capacity by grounding wide-body and utilising more of narrow-fleets to match with the current demand of domestic or staycation travel.
The preliminary air passenger numbers in July locally indicated an encouraging uptick in passenger movements, a rebound dominated by the domestic passenger movements.
MAHB’s local airports network posted 1.2 million passengers year-on-year (YoY) in July or 73.2 per cent reduction, considering the uplift of interstate travel of just a month ago.
The recovery was consistent with the uplift of interstate travel ban from June 10 this year and the increase by threefold for July domestic passenger movements compared to June, indicating the growing demand for air travel.
Meanwhile, international sector recorded some slight improvements compared to the previous months but relatively weak as most of the countries’ borders are still closed or restricted.
In July also saw resumption of flights by Turkish Airlines, Scoot and Starlux Airlines to Malaysia.
Based on Airports Council International’s preliminary report, Southeast Asia’s (SEA) passenger movements up to May remained in the lead in terms of total passenger regional trend with domestic sector dominating the uptick.
The representative of the world’s airport authorities said airline capacity cut for SEA was the lowest at only 43 per cent compared with the other regions which were between 53 per cent and 74 per cent for 2020.
“MAHB is continuously engaging with the relevant government agencies to ensure that airport provides a safe and secure journey to regain air travel confidence.
“Operationally the maintenance of the airport complies to the highest standards such as the recent successful rehabilitation of the third runway which is a manifestation of our commitment that we will not compromise on safety,” he said.