LANGKAWI: The government is targeting a RM9 billion in tourism revenue in Langkawi by 2020 fuelled by the latest terminal expansion at the Langkawi International Airport (LGK).
Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) group acting chief executive officer Raja Azmi Raja Nazuddin said the airport operator had spent RM86 million to undertake the LGK’s terminal expansion that can handle four million passengers annually from the previous 1.5 million per annum.
"LGK is better positioned to support Langkawi’s growth as a popular tourist destination. To date, LGK has welcomed 1.3 million tourists this year,” he said at a press conference after officiating the Airport Council International (ACI) Asia-Pacific (APAC) Small and Emerging Airports Seminar (SEAS) 2018, here, today.
Raja Azmi said the new expanded terminal was completed in August this year and will better position the island as a popular tourist destination, while strengthening Malaysia as preferred global hub.
“This capacity expansion was done in tandem with the aim to enhance airport experience and elevate service levels.
“We also improved various airport operational efficiencies by adding the number of check-in and immigration counters, boarding gates, washroom facilities, and installing the automated in-line hold baggage handling system,” Raja Azmi said, adding that the capacity expansion would increase the comfort level to 22 sqm per passenger.
Raja Azmi said the business of running an airport comes with a set of similar challenges especially in an increasingly globalised environment, regardless of an airport’s capacity, size or geographical location.
Raja Azmi pointed out that a small-sized airport like LGK is gradually developing itself into a secondary hub in Malaysia.
Last year, LGK registered 2.7 million passenger traffic movements, an increase of 4.2 per cent a year ago.
Raja Azmi said the new LGK terminal expansion has attracted interest from foreign airlines that wish to offer direct destinations from here.
“Currently, LGK has six airlines (what are the airlines) operating from here to four domestic destinations and five international destinations with a combined weekly frequency of 238,” he said.
Among the airlines operating at LGK include AirAsia, Firefly, Malaysia Airlines, Malindo, Scoot and China Southern.
The global seminar also showcases Malaysia, in particular Langkawi Island, to the world as a preferred tourist destination, while ensuring airport operators the continuity and maintaining a long-term vision for a sustainable future.
This year’s SEAS features renowned industry leading experts speaking on aviation related topics and challenges such as airports as catalyst to economic growth, changing passenger profile, airport commercial operations, climate change, safety enhancement, compliance and cyber security threats.
Hosted by MAHB, the two-day seminar facilitates the growth of the aviation industry with delegates of international experts participation from 29 countries.
The seminar serves as a unique platform for the promoting of exchange and sharing of best practices and expertise among small and emerging airports in the region.