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 as the rebound in air travel speeds up with a number of travellers gearing up for the year-end holidays and festive season, he shares how the Immigration Department has made preparations at KL International Airport (KLIA) to reduce partly the congestion especially for foreign arrivals with long-term visit permits by extending the use of the automated entrance system (autogate), which had been previously restricted to Malaysians, to them as well.

We would like to thank the Immigration Department for its initiative to enable arriving long-term visit foreign pass holders to use the autogate facility at KLIA since mid-November, thus speeding up the inspection process normally conducted at the immigration counters. Over 1.8 million foreigners that include expatriates, those working and studying in Malaysia and participants of Malaysia Second Home Programme are expected to benefit from it.

According to OAG’s November data, our flagship KLIA is the second fastest growing airport in terms of international seats, adding 159,029 seats after Singapore’s Changi Airport with 216,813 seats added. Our national carrier Malaysia Airlines has also done well being the second fastest growing in Southeast Asia in terms of seats added, which amounted to 128,231 seats compared to October.

Of late, the list of airlines resuming their direct services to KLIA has been on the rise. October 31 saw All Nippon Airways recommencing its thrice weekly Tokyo- Haneda service to Kuala Lumpur (KUL) utilising Boeing 787-8 and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines its four times weekly direct service from Amsterdam to KUL using its two-class Boeing 777-200 aircraft, with its KUL-Jakarta sector also returning.

This was followed by the 288-seater Air Mauritius, arriving at KLIA on November 1 using its Airbus A330-900Neo aircraft. The airline has been our long-standing partner, having first flown into Malaysia since May 1988 and halted in March 2020. We are glad to know that it is reactivating its collaboration with Malaysia Airlines in order to offer more connections in Asia and Australia via KLIA.

The following day (November 2) saw Uzbekistan Airways resuming its Tashkent- KUL route after a two-year hiatus, carrying 188 passengers on its A321Neo aircraft. The carrier has been flying to KLIA since 1992. Also offering a twice weekly service, we hope to see not only more tourism cooperation between the two countries but also in other areas such as education, medicine and technology.

Meanwhile, Malaysia Airlines’ new twice- weekly direct KUL-Yogyakarta took to the skies on November 3 as part of its network expansion within Indonesia while long-haul low-cost carrier AirAsia X resumed its KUL- Jeddah six-weekly flights on November 16 to provide affordable travel to the Middle East for travellers and pilgrims. KLIA serves as a significant umrah hub for those from Indonesia as well with the resumption of this route as Saudi Arabia reopens its travel sectors.

We also welcomed Shanghai-based Spring Airlines’ inaugural once weekly Nanning- KUL flight on November 21 to KLIA as China eases its travel restrictions for inbound travellers. We expect the trend of more relaunches of direct flights from KUL to other foreign destinations to continue in December and into early 2023.

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