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 rejoices that Kuala Lumpur (KL)- Singapore is among the world’s top five busiest international routes based on the number of available seats from October 2021 to September 2022, according to OAG flight data platform in its latest Busiest Routes report. Additionally, the recent reinstatement of Malaysia’s International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) rating to Category 1 (CAT1) by the United States’ Federal Aviation Administration has not only strengthened our country’s position as an aviation hub but will also increase our global network connectivity.

Kudos go to the airlines which made a total of 2,443,176 seats available between KL International Airport (KLIA) and Singapore’s Changi Airport over a one-year period which ended in September, which ranked this route between two of Southeast Asia’s largest air hubs and the world’s fifth busiest in terms of passenger traffic. Among them are Airasia, Batik Air Malaysia, Jetstar Asia, KLM, Malaysia Airlines, Scoot and Singapore Airlines, which also contributed reasonable freight movement for this sector.

OAG has also listed KLIA among the top 50 global import megahubs for 2022, ranking it 39th with 38% of its share of flights contributed by Airasia while its KLIA2 terminal was placed 20th among the top 25 of low-cost carrier airport megahubs. In terms of Asia Pacific, KLIA is now positioned eight, down from its fourth ranking in 2019 pre-pandemic.

Thanks to the massive efforts by the Transport Ministry and the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) to get our country’s IASA rating reinstated to CAT1, this has helped boost global confidence in the quality of our air navigation services and will further assist us in our marketing efforts to woo more airlines to operate here. Furthermore, Malaysia’s re-election to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Council recently is also a testament to our commitment in developing global aviation landscape.

With CAAM recently granting an air operator’s certificate to MyAirline Sdn Bhd which is a significant step toward becoming a certified airline, we look forward to its entry into our aviation industry in the aftermath of the pandemic where it will benefit from the abundance of airport slots and availability of pilots and cabin crew in Malaysia.

I believe out ongoing Airport Collaborative Decision-Making initiative integrating our airport operations with the air traffic control, airlines and ground handlers on a uniformed platform is another move in the right direction given the enhanced predictability of events and optional use of resources.

With the polling day for the 15th general election fixed on 19 November, we expect a flurry flights taking place this month with the active campaigning and Malaysian flying back to cast their votes. We anticipate a busy period ahead in the run-up to the year-end where many corporates will be taking their holiday breaks.

IATA’s latest passenger data for July testifies to the continued strong recovery in global air travel, standing at 74.6% of pre-crisis level with domestic traffic at 86.9%. Given the pent-up demand for leisure and visiting friends and relatives (VFR) trends, I foresee air travel patterns will remain strong until the end of 2022.

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