KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 ― Penang International Airport has welcomed the arrival of two global carriers in October, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) said.

Qatar Airways has resumed its Doha-Phuket-Penang route with daily flights while Thai Airways International made its debut with daily services to Bangkok, the airport operator said in a statement today.

“These additions serve as a testament to the resurgence of travel tourism in the region,” MAHB said.

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MAHB local operations recorded 6.8 million passenger movements, or 67 per cent of the group's 10.2 million in October 2023, the statement said, with both domestic and international sectors chalking up 3.4 million passenger movements each.

Malaysian operations reported “equally strong performance” for both sectors, the statement said.

The international sector saw a 3.6 per cent growth over September 2023 due to a 3.3 per cent rise in airlines seat capacity offered, supported by new services from KL International Airport to Zhangjiajie, China by Batik Air Malaysia; Kertajati, Indonesia by Malaysia Airlines; and Padang, Indonesia by Super Air Jet, it said.

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October’s domestic passenger movements reached 80.3 per cent of 2019 levels at 3.4 million passengers, with an average load factor of 81.5 per cent, the second highest to date, after August 2023 recorded 82.2 per cent.

Turkiye’s Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (SAW), which it owns, handled 3.3 million passenger movements, or the remaining 33 per cent of MAHB’s total 10.2 million passenger movements.

SAW recorded 1.7 million and 1.6 million for international and domestic passenger movements, respectively, bringing its total to 3.3 million, a 4.7 per cent above 2019 levels, the statement said.

“As the year draws to a close, the group's operational performance in terms of air traffic movements in October 2023 signals yet another promising trajectory for the aviation industry's continued recovery,” MAHB said.

Year-to-date, the group has chalked up 98.9 million passenger movements, or 84.7 per cent of its pre-pandemic 2019 level, the statement said. ― Bernama