MAHB is looking for 15 more foreign airlines to operate in Malaysia; May passenger numbers up 12.3% year-on-year

KUALA LUMPUR (June 25): Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) (KL:AIRPORT) has announced that it is actively pursuing 15 more foreign airlines to operate in the country over the next two years.

The group said in a statement on Tuesday that as a result of expanding its network connectivity in the country, Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) now serves 70 airlines, up from 69 airlines before the pandemic.

MAHB said three more airlines – British Airways, Thai Vietjet and 9Air – are due to start operations by the end of the year.

MAHB aims to elevate KLIA as a preferred international hub airport by attracting 15 foreign airlines to operate in Malaysia.

The group is also investing heavily in initiatives such as its Airline X-celeration program, which includes landing fee waivers, discounts on airport office rentals and marketing support to boost air travel.

The company has so far allocated about RM3 million to support marketing on the Malaysia-China route, highlighting the group’s efforts to increase connectivity and attract more airlines.

MAHB’s total passenger numbers in May increased 12.3% year-on-year to 11.2 million, due in part to public holidays which coincided with the school holiday season.

This marks the fifth consecutive month that total passenger movement has exceeded 10 million.

According to a filing by Malaysia Airlines with Bursa Malaysia, the number of international passengers rose 26% to 5.8 million from 4.6 million a year ago, while domestic passenger numbers increased slightly to 5.39 million from 5.36 million.

Malaysia’s total passenger numbers rose 12.1% to 7.7 million from 6.8 million in May, according to the Malaysian Aviation Commercial Authority.

“International and domestic passenger numbers reached a record 4 million and 3.7 million respectively, reaching 98.8% and 94.7% compared to May 2019, indicating a continued recovery trajectory to pre-pandemic levels. The strong growth in traffic in Malaysia was due to the coincidence of the school holiday season and public holidays which traditionally stimulate travel demand, as well as aggressive efforts by foreign and domestic airlines to expand seat availability,” it said.

Meanwhile, total passenger numbers at Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen International Airport increased 12.6% from 3.1 million to 3.5 million.

“International and domestic passenger traffic continue to demonstrate resilience above 2019 levels, with both segments expected to achieve record monthly traffic volumes in 2024,” MAHB added.

MAHB’s shares closed down 7 sen, or 0.72%, at RM9.72 on Tuesday, giving the company a market capitalisation of RM16.22 billion.

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