SEPANG - Flights for the Hajj season have taken off since 21 May 2023 and Malaysia Airports are operating at full capacity to facilitate pilgrims at its network of airports across the country. Seven airports, namely, KL International Airport (KUL), Penang International Airport (PEN), Kuching International Airport (KCH), Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KCH), Sultan Abdul Halim Airport (AOR), Sultan Ismail Petra Airport (KBR) and Sultan Mahmud Airport (TGG) are in close coordination with Lembaga Tabung Haji (LTH) and the airlines to ensure smooth flight operations and passenger movements via a seamless airport experience for both departing and arriving Hajj passengers. The airport operator is expecting more than 31,600 pilgrims to travel through its airports this Hajj season. Meanwhile, a total of 114 special chartered flights by Malaysia Airlines and Saudi Airlines will be used to fly all Malaysian pilgrims to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).
According to the Managing Director of Malaysia Airports, Dato’ Iskandar Mizal Mahmood, “Our operational plan for the Hajj season is all encompassing as we aim to provide the best airport experience for the pilgrims. Both the governments of Malaysia and the KSA are continuing the Makkah Route initiative where Malaysian Hajj pilgrims enjoy KSA immigration pre-clearance at KUL Terminal 1 itself, thus reducing their waiting time upon reaching their destination. We have prepared a dedicated holding lounge at Gate C16 and C17 for this pre-clearance process which is manned by immigration officials from both countries.”
The spacious 500-seater holding lounge at KUL Terminal 1 offers comfort and convenience to the pilgrims. Among the facilities in the lounge include dedicated prayer and ablution areas, water dispensers, charging stations and F&B vending machines and kiosks. Safety measures continue to remain a priority too with an additional four units of security screening machines installed at the lounge. In addition, buggy services to ferry pilgrims to the lounge are also available from Gate C11, where they step off the special Hajj buses that directly enter the airside.
The influx of passenger movements during the Hajj season this year is expected to contribute to the increase in the month-on-month total passenger movements for Malaysia between 12% to 28% from May to July 2023. For April 2023, Malaysia Airports’ local network of airports recorded a total of 6.3 million passenger movements or nearly 70% of the Group’s total global passenger movements at 9.13 million passengers. The local airports recorded 2.8 million international passenger movements and 3.5 million domestic passenger movements respectively. Among the international airports, Langkawi International Airport showed the most significant increase in international passengers movements by 20% totalling to 18,086 passengers compared to the preceding month. This was due to the 34% increase in aircraft movements to 155 recorded compared to March 2023, as both AirAsia and Scoot provided additional frequencies from daily to twice daily from Singapore to the island.
Meanwhile, Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (SAW) in Türkiye recorded total passenger movements of 2.8 million in April, which was consistent with its performance in March albeit the fasting period. International and domestic passenger movements also registered 1.5 million and 1.3 million passengers respectively.