KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 14 — Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd’s (MAHB) Turkish asset, Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (ISGA), continued to lead the airport operator’s recovery, registering 3.2 million passenger movements last month or 90 per cent of pre-Covid-19 level.

In a statement today, it said the seven per cent increased from July registered by ISGA remained the main contributor to MAHB’s total passenger movements of 3.5 million in August 2021.

“To-date, ISGA has also registered the highest passenger movements in August, reaching 90 per cent of August 2019 levels due to the increase in summer travels.

“In Turkey, the relaxation of border and inter-city travel, the lifting of national curfew, the upbeat progress of the country’s vaccination rate, the equivalent acceptance of European Union (EU) digital Covid-19 certificate and Turkish Covid-19 certificate have further encouraged travel to and within Turkey and Europe as well as inter-city of Turkey during this peak season,” it said.

For the first half of 2021, MAHB said ISGA was ranked fourth busiest airport in Europe with continuous traffic momentum in the past two months.

It said flight bookings data showed Turkey and Istanbul listed as the third-best performing country and major city at 62 and 56.5 per cent pre-2019 level respectively.

“The increase in air travel demand also resulted in Pegasus, the main local carrier adding a new route to Makhachkala, Russia with three flights weekly, which will be the airline’s sixth new international introduced in 2021 after Batumi, Odessa, Shymkent, Kherson and St. Petersburg,” it said.

On passenger movements’ performance in Malaysia, MAHB said the local network of airports registered 296,000 passengers in August, consisting of 88,000 international passengers and 208,000 domestic passengers.

It said although the volume showed a slight increase from July, traffic remained low with the prolonged travel restrictions on both the domestic and international sectors.

“However, on a positive note, the group is looking forward to the opening of the domestic travel bubble this month with Langkawi as the first destination.

“All of its airports are ready for full swing operations with most states progressing between phases 2 and 3 of the National Recovery Plan (NRP) which is an encouraging sign for the recovery of local tourism and travel,” it added. — Bernama