SEPANG – KL International Airport (KLIA) recently welcomed its 18th cargo airline, Central Airlines (IATA Code: I9) from Shenzhen, China that will operate three times weekly using the Boeing 737F aircraft. Central Airlines (also known as Zhongzhou Airlines) is a Chinese cargo airline based in Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport. Central Airlines joins two other cargo airlines i.e. Kargo Xpress and GetJet Airlines in starting operations at KLIA this year due to the strong air cargo demand during the pandemic period. Central Airlines was first established in 2019 and has since expanded their fleet size to five aircraft.
The group chief executive officer of Malaysia Airports, Dato’ Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh said that attracting new airline partners and supporting their growth will further strengthen Malaysia’s position as a regional cargo hub, specifically as an e-commerce regional distribution centre, “The air cargo logistics sector has been the silver lining in mitigating the impact of the pandemic. For 1H 2021, we recorded approximately 468,400 metric tonnes for total cargo operations in Malaysia, an increase of 22% from the same period last year. We saw encouraging cargo growth in other airports especially in East Malaysia. The top five airports which registered the highest growth were Tawau, Sibu, Limbang, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching. The growth ranging from over 70% to 700% at these airports was mainly driven by higher volume of e-commerce transactions.”
For the month of June 2021, the Group’s entire network of airports recorded a 26% month-on-month increase in total cargo tonnage to about 78,200 metric tonnes, with airports in Malaysia and Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (ISG), Turkey registering an increase of 26% (74,600 metric tonnes) and 47% (3,600 metric tonnes) respectively.
As for total passenger movements in the same month, the Group saw a 153% increase compared to the same period in 2020 and recorded 2.4 million passengers, mainly contributed by ISG at 2.2 million passengers. ISG continues to show gradual recovery in air travel as its passenger movement performance last month jumped by about 100% from the preceding month. On the other hand, local airports in Malaysia registered only about 187,000 total passenger movements (International: 59,000; Domestic: 128,000) as the country has extended its lockdown nationwide in the bid to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, the Group continues to ensure the highest level of safety at its airports. Its latest initiative towards this end includes the setting up of the Pusat Pemberian Vaksin KLIA earlier this month to facilitate the vaccination of about 22,000 members of the airport community from the airport, airlines, ground handlers, cleaning contractors and other service providers. To date, 80% of Malaysia Airports staff in Malaysia has received their first dose of vaccine.