Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) executive chairman Dr Nungsari Ahmad Radhi urges Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd’s (MAHB) to woo more airlines to land in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) so as to boost its global connectivity. NSTP photo by NUR ADIBAH AHMAD IZAM

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) urges Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd’s (MAHB) to woo more airlines to land in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) so as to boost its global connectivity.

MAVCOM executive chairman Dr Nungsari Ahmad Radhi said most of the KLIA traffic was within Malaysia and the Southeast Asia region.

“We want to see more connectivity at KLIA with other parts of the world. Even if people don’t spend the night here (Malaysia) they stop at KLIA to transit for a few hours, it is good enough,” he told the New Straits Times in an interview recently.

According to Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd’s (MAHB) passenger traffic snapshot, passenger movements at KLIA and klia2 registered 60 million passengers in 2018, 2.4 per cent higher than 58.5 million passengers in 2017.

KLIA’s passenger movements decreased by 0.7 per cent to 28.1 million passengers, while klia2 traffic increased 5.3 per cent to 31.9 million in 2018.

For the first-half of 2019, passenger movements for both KLIA and klia2 grew 2.1 per cent to 30.4 million.

Of the total, international passenger movements added 1.1 per cent to 21.9 million passengers and domestic traffic grew 4.9 per cent to 8.5 million passengers.

Dr Nungsari said Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia and Malindo flights tend to be limited to China, India, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand, with only one long-haul destination to the UK.

“Our aviation players have a regional footprint while our passengers are international and domestic. So, our airports are not evolving. It is important for KLIA to become an international hub so as to create more jobs and economic spill-over for Malaysia’s aviation sector,” he said.

Dr Nungsari said MAVCOM would like to position KLIA as the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) hub for the commercial airlines including other value chain services to support airlines like ground handlers such as food and beverages for carriers, as well as oil and gas (aircraft fuelling).

“We are quite concerned Malaysia’s airport connectivity is somewhat limited. We want to see our airports become bigger and attract more airlines.

“We want local airlines to improve on their connectivity, while we focus on improving the convenience and comfort of KLIA, Penang International Airport and Kota Kinabalu International Airport, which are the three major international airports,” he said.

Nungsari said MAVCOM was also concerned of the non-scheduled flight operations in the country, which include charter services for both goods and passengers.

“We don’t see a good growth in charter services. If our airport connectivity is better, maybe the charter business can tap into international markets as well,” he said, adding that the regulator would like to see more growth of the cargo and charter businesses.