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Malaysia Airports seeks to bring in new airlines for expansion
Published on: Wednesday, February 28, 2024
By: FMT, Samuel Chua
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Malaysia Airports seeks to bring in new airlines for expansion
Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd is reportedly in the process of upgrading its infrastructure and passenger experiences across its airports.
PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) is setting its sights on attracting new airlines from North Asia, the Southwest Pacific and Europe as part of its strategy to enhance Malaysia’s status as a key hub of connectivity.

Senior general manager for strategy Megat Ardian Wira Aminuddin said MAHB aims to welcome these airlines to start operations or expand into Malaysia from as early as the fourth quarter of this year or early next year.

“We are targeting an increase from 69 airlines in 2019 to between 75 and 80 by the end of this year,” he said at Routes Asia 2024, hosted by MAHB and Tourism Malaysia.

Airlines from Europe are also targeted, though these services may not be as frequent as those from other regions, he said.

However, Megat said negotiations with various airlines are still in progress, focusing on incentives such as operational cost support, landing and parking fee waivers and marketing expenditure assistance.

He said MAHB would work closely with internal and external stakeholders, including Tourism Malaysia, to propose comprehensive marketing support for these airlines.

“Hopefully, the airlines will get back to us soon on some of their plans,” he said.

Megat said that in preparation for Visit Malaysia 2026, MAHB is in the process of upgrading its infrastructure and passenger experiences across its airports.

The initiatives include replacing the aerotrain in KLIA, upgrading the baggage handling system, expanding retail outlets and enhancing digital check-in facilities.

“These improvements are designed to create a seamless and efficient passenger experience from start to finish,” he said.

Megat also said MAHB would be committed to enhancing its other international airports, including those in Langkawi, Penang, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching.

“Digitalisation efforts and the expansion of retail and F&B options are under way, with several international airlines already showing interest in these locations.”

Meanwhile, MAHB acting group CEO Rastam Shahrom said Malaysia welcomed five new international airlines in January and February this year.

He said the latest additions are Air Macau, providing four weekly services from Macau; Loong Air, offering three weekly flights from Hangzhou; Turkmenistan Airlines, providing two weekly services from Ashgabat; and Iraqi Airways, resuming its weekly service to Baghdad.

“Flydubai is (also) now serving daily flights to Penang International Airport and Langkawi International Airport from Dubai,” he said in a statement.

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