Airport MD Speak


Dato’ Iskandar Mizal Mahmood returns to Malaysia Airports after almost 20 years with his wealth of experience gleaned from many multinationals and government-linked companies to elevate and transform Malaysia Airports in the fast-changing aviation landscape with new travel norms and innovative technological advances.

This month, he welcomes Malaysia’s reopening of its international borders and how the recent commencement of the Singapore-Penang air vaccinated travel lane (VTL) has served as a stepping stone in revitalising the tourism sector by generating more flights and frequencies. Malaysia Airports’ recent participation in the government- linked companies (GLC) Open Day 2022 has also created greater awareness of how the airport operator has not only remained a strategic provider of airport services to airlines and other stakeholders despite the Covid-19 pandemic but has also strived to continuously improve our services in order to remain competitive in the fast-changing global landscape.

Despite the reopening of our international borders on April 1, air VTL arrangements will remain beneficial for travel between Malaysia
and countries that have not fully opened their borders. There is no denying their significance in stimulating international travel and generating economic activities which have greatly assisted in the recovery of both our tourism and aviation sectors.

The recent Singapore-Penang VTL saw Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, Singapore Airlines and Scoot serving our northern hub, Penang International Airport (PIA), which has always been the second busiest airport after our flagship KL International Airport (KLIA) in terms of international passenger traffic. Similar to KLIA, PIA has a private health screening service operator at the airport to provide Covid-19 screening tests for the arriving passengers.

There are 10 screening test booths and a full-fledged lab to produce the results quickly for the passengers, who have been advised to pre-book their screening test. We also had approval from the relevant authorities to implement a Test and Release arrival process, which allowed passengers to immediately leave the airport to their declared accommodation upon clearing immigration without having to wait for their Covid-19 RT-PCR screening test results at the airport.

As the country transitions to the endemic phase, Malaysia Airports will continue to work closely with the authorities to facilitate a safe and seamless airport experience for all passengers while ensuring the required safety protocols and health processes are implemented accordingly. As a responsible GLC, which represents an important component to Malaysia’s economic structure, we work with the government to help the ‘Keluarga Malaysia’ recover in terms of their income and jobs, among other things, in order to deliver optimum impact to our country’s socio-economic growth.

We also welcome the resumption of Firefly jet services on April 11 from its Penang hub to Johor Bahru, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu as this will not only boost domestic tourism but also facilitate more international traffic within Malaysia with the reopening of our borders. The return of air travel soon to its normalcy gives much optimism not only to us but also our airport retail partners, who can expect to see more sales being generated.

Apart from our travel retail ecommerce platform, shopMYairports to enable the public to purchase travel exclusive and duty absorbed products and have them delivered directly to their doorstep, we will be introducing soon on-ground services such as Click and Collect to enable travellers to shop prior to their trip and collect their purchase at designated counters in the respective airports upon their departure or arrival. All these initiatives are part of our on-going efforts to make our airports a premier lifestyle and shopping destination. Here’s to safe and seamless, happy travels and shopping!

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