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New airlines at KLIA connect Malaysia with more destinations

March 3, 20243 minute read
New airlines at KLIA

Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) is working to add new airlines at KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) and generally increase the number of airlines flying to Malaysia. This is part of their strategy to attract new airlines from North Asia, the Southwest Pacific and Europe to enhance Malaysia’s status as a key hub of connectivity. Malaysia has International Airports in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Langkawi, Johor Bahru, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching.

Speaking at Routes Asia 2024, hosted in Langkawi by MAHB and Tourism Malaysia, MAHB Senior general manager for strategy Megat Ardian Wira Aminuddin said MAHB aims to welcome these airlines to start operations or expand into Malaysia by the fourth quarter of this year or early next year.

We are targeting an increase from 69 airlines in 2019 to between 75 and 80 by the end of this year.

New airlines at KLIA and other airports

Since the start of 2024, Malaysia welcomed five new international airlines in January and February this year:

  • Air Macau is flying four weekly services from Macau
  • Loong Air offers three weekly flights from Hangzhou
  • Turkmenistan Airlines, two weekly services from Ashgabat
  • Iraqi Airways, resuming its weekly service to Baghdad.

In addition, Flydubai is also running daily flights to Penang International Airport and Langkawi International Airport from Dubai.

In addition, Malaysia Airports and British Airways announced on 5th March that the airline would recommence daily flights between Kuala Lumpur T1 and London Heathrow in November, using a Boeing B787-9 aircraft.

Megat added that negotiations with various airlines are still in progress, with a focus on incentives such as operational cost support, landing and parking fee waivers and marketing expenditure assistance. He said MAHB would work closely with internal and external stakeholders, including Tourism Malaysia, to propose comprehensive marketing support for these airlines.

With ‘Visit Malaysia 2026’ just around the corner, MAHB also is in the process of upgrading its infrastructure and passenger experiences across its airports. The initiatives include replacing the aerotrain in KLIA (by Q1, 2025), upgrading the baggage handling system, expanding retail outlets and enhancing digital check-in facilities.

MAHB is also committed to enhancing its other international airports, including those in Langkawi, Penang, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching. With digitalisation and the expansion of retail and F&B options under way, several international airlines showing interest in these locations.

Connecting with Central Asia

Kuala Lumpur International Airport recently welcomed Turkmenistan Airlines’ inaugural flight from Ashgabat, opening up the opportunity for travellers from Malaysia to explore the Central Asia and Russia tourism markets. The flight landed at 4.10pm on 15th February at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) Terminal 1.

Tourism Malaysia International Promotions (Americas/Europe/Oceania) senior director Iskandar Mirza Mohd Yusof said Turkmenistan Airlines is the second airlines from Central Asia after Uzbekistan Airways, with direct flights to KL. He added that

…. the airlines also opens the space to Muslim-friendly tourism elements since the Central Asia and Russian communities are mostly Muslim.

Iskandar said according to statistics, the number of Russian tourist arrivals to Malaysia for the period of January to November 2023 was 100,645, an increase of 39.5% compared to 2019. This is  marked increase in the number of Russian tourists to Malaysia after the Covid-19 pandemic. The twice-weekly flights from Turkmenistan to Malaysia arrive on Tuesdays and Thursdays with flights from Malaysia to Turkmenistan leaving KLIA on Wednesdays and Thursdays. The flight between Ashgabat and Kuala Lumpur takes a little over eight hours.

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing and Turkmenistan Ambassador to Malaysia Muhammetnyyaz Mashalov were also present at the event.

# Kuala Lumpur International Airport KLIA, Malaysia Airports (MAHB), Turkmenistan
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