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Malaysia Airport Holdings Bhd (MAHB) managing director Datuk Badlisham Ghazali is hopeful five new airlines will soon come to Kuala Lumpur International Airport. NST photo by SALHANI IBRAHIM
Malaysia Airport Holdings Bhd (MAHB) managing director Datuk Badlisham Ghazali is hopeful five new airlines will soon come to Kuala Lumpur International Airport. NST photo by SALHANI IBRAHIM

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airport Holdings Bhd (MAHB) is hopeful that five new airlines will be making their way to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang next year.

Managing director Datuk Badlisham Ghazali said at least two of the new airlines would be from countries that are not yet present in KLIA.

"I just come back from the World Routes Forum 2017 in Barcelona, Spain where multiple discussions were had and I am hopeful that at least five more new airlines will join us next year," Badlisham told journalists at the Khazanah Megatrends Forum 2017 here yesterday.

"As you know, we are always actively looking for partners and new airlines to come join us, for 2017 we already saw eight new airlines joining us and since everything in aviation is seasonal, we are not expecting any more new airlines for the rest of the year," he said.

Eight new airlines has made its way to Malaysia so far this year.

Badlisham also expects local airports passenger traffic to surpass that of 2016 which was at 88.83 million.

Incidentally, 2016 was also the first time KLIA passenger traffic surpassed 50 million mark.

"We have seen really good passenger volume in the third quarter and we are expecting to sustain this trend until the end of the year, and we are expecting another bumper month in November and December as people typically travel at the end of the year,” he said.

“Our original (growth) forecast (for passenger volume) was at six per cent this year but we have revised that to eight per cent, and I believe we may end up at some 90 million this year for Malaysia as a whole.”

When asked on his budget wishlist, Badlisham noted that a number of airports under its care needed infrastructure upgrading.

“We have the volume but we need more capacity (upgrading) for airports infrastructure and that's something that the government has to look into,” said Badlisham, adding that Subang Airport has already hit its maximum capacity.

“In fact, Kota Kinabalu and Penang require some infrastructure funding in the couple of months.”

MAHB saw its international traffic increased by 15.8 per cent year-on-year to 5.5 million passengers while domestic traffic rose by 1.3 per cent to 5.9 million passengers as of August 31 this year.

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