SEPANG – The Runway 1 of KL International Airport (KLIA) has been fully rehabilitated and is now ready to support the recovery of flights operations after passing the recent calibration and audit checks by the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM). The rehabilitation exercise was part of the KLIA Runway Sustainability Master Plan that contains a full-fledged framework for the continuous safety of flight operations at the airport. Completed within 6 months as scheduled, the rehabilitation exercise comprised comprehensive maintenance works that were timely with the gradual recovery of air travel as herd immunity against the COVID-19 pandemic is being achieved across the globe with countries speeding up their vaccination programmes and initiatives. Prior to Runway 1, Runway 3 at KLIA underwent the same exercise last year as Malaysia Airports continued with its mission critical investments despite aggressive cost containment measures to ensure airport readiness and restore passenger confidence. At full capacity, KLIA can handle up to 78 flight movements per hour.
The group chief executive officer (Group CEO) of Malaysia Airports, Dato’ Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh said, “We remain committed in providing top-notch facilities for the ultimate travel experience via our airports. As such, we will never compromise the safety aspects of airport operations. Currently, 51 airlines which include 41 commercial passenger, and 10 cargo airlines are operating at KLIA and contributing to an overall increase in flight movements by 77.4% last month over the same period in 2020. As for passenger movements, KLIA also saw an increase by 88.2% last month over May 2020, at 166,000 passengers. This emphasises on the importance of improving our offerings to cater to the gradual return of air travel especially after the recent announcement on the possibility of permitting those who have been fully vaccinated to be allowed to travel interstate or even overseas.”
As a group, Malaysia Airports recorded a total of 1.6 million passenger movements in May 2021, whereby the local airports in Malaysia registered 471,000 (International: 75,000; Domestic: 396,000) total passenger movements while the bulk of it, 1.1 million passengers was contributed by our airport in Turkey, Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (ISG). In Malaysia, with borders still remaining closed, the international passengers who are either departing or arriving have all been pre-approved of their travels as per the SOPs set by the Government of Malaysia. This group includes foreigners returning to their own country, students studying abroad, permanent residents who are spouses or family members of Malaysian citizens, diplomats and those who have been permitted for business travel by the Immigration Department of Malaysia. All these passengers undergo stringent health and safety screening measures as determined by the Ministry of Health to ensure they do not pose any risks prior to their departure or arrival.
As for ISG, although there was a reintroduction of travel restrictions, it maintains its optimism for air travel recovery as local airlines such as Pegasus and AnadoluJet continue to introduce new flights to Batumi, Lyon, Hanover and Pristina amongst others.
The cargo airline operators are showing resilience with a growing demand in the logistic chain that has been aggressively driven by e-commerce. The logistics sector remains stable and resilient as seen through the performance of our air cargo partners that are operating at our network of airports nationwide. In Q1 2021, we recorded 281,000 metric tonnes for total cargo operations, which was a significant increase by 23% from the same period last year. KLIA had also recently welcomed a new cargo airline, Kargo Xpress, further expanding the number of air freighters operating at the airport to 19. Kargo Xpress operates the Kuala Lumpur – Kuching and Kuala Lumpur – Kota Kinabalu air cargo routes, with 6 weekly flights to each destination, using the B737-400SF aircraft.