Additional foreign carriers to boost aviation recovery, says MAHB

KUALA LUMPUR (June 23): International traffic at airports operated by Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) received a further boost with the addition of a new foreign carrier and the recommencement of five others last month, a statement from MAHB said.

Cambodian low-cost carrier Lanmei Airlines launched its inaugural weekly flight connecting Phnom Penh to Kuala Lumpur, utilising an Airbus A320 aircraft.

“It is the third airline, after Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia, to serve this route,” MAHB said.

The five airlines that have recommenced operations include India’s low-cost carrier IndiGo, which operates the Chennai and Tiruchirappalli route to Kuala Lumpur, and Thai Smile Airways on the Bangkok-Penang route.

In East Malaysia, Royal Brunei Airlines resumed flights from Brunei to Kuching and Kota Kinabalu, while Jin Air from South Korea reinstated its Incheon-Kota Kinabalu route. Philippines AirAsia also resumed its Manila-Kota Kinabalu route.

The statement also said that the group recorded 1.03 million international passenger movements in May in Malaysia, hitting the one-million mark for the first time since March 2020 when borders were closed.

MAHB managing director Datuk Iskandar Mizal Mahmood said with the border reopening two months ago, the airport operator recorded an average monthly rise in international traffic exceeding 50%.

“The demand is there for airlines to seize the opportunity and speed up recovery. For an airport operator, every new foreign airline entry into the country signals positive growth for the aviation landscape,” he said.

Lanmei Airlines is the second new foreign carrier MAHB has welcomed into the country this year, bringing a total of 43 foreign airline partners operating within its network in Malaysia.

Meanwhile, Malaysia Airlines and Japan Airlines (JAL) expanded their code-share operations following the national carrier’s recent announcement to launch new direct flights from Kuala Lumpur to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport beginning on Aug 14, 2022.

The move reaffirmed the strategic joint business partnership entered into by both Oneworld Alliance members in July 2020 to serve customers better and to facilitate trade between the two countries.

“The twice-weekly service will be operated by A330-300 aircraft, equipped with 290 seats, comprising 27 business class seats, 16 economy seats with extra legroom, and 247 seats in the economy class,” a joint statement from Malaysia Airlines and JAL said.