The managing director of Malaysia Airports Holdings, Datuk Badilisham Ghazali may have only been in the post for just nine months, but he already delivering on an ambition to develop the five international airports it manages in the Asian country into hubs for traffic in, out and around the region. And by working closely with airline partners, he hopes the company will stay ahead of industry-growth with facilities that enhance airlines’ productivity, efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
Speaking to Routesonline on the sidelines of the Routes Asia Strategy Summit, where he was a panellist discussing airport infrastructure and whether countries could keep with the growing demand for air travel, he said Malaysia Airports doesn’t simply want to grow with airline partners, but anticipate their requirements ahead of time.
In the midst of the exhilarating growth and encouraging prospects in Asia, he said airline route planners and revenue-optimisers remain under pressure to develop future new routes that provide the best synergy for both airlines and their customers. In relation to this, the selection of a hub within Asia could well be an option that would benefit Malaysia Airports.
Whether this is a turnaround destination or a catchment area transit point, the choice of a regional air hub can determine an airline’s success in specific markets, but also across its entire network. “In Asia, more and more airlines are recognising Malaysia’s distinctive advantages as the ideal regional air hub of choice,” said Ghazali.
“Malaysia is often called ‘The Heart of Asia’ with good reason! Historically and geographically Malaysia sits at the heart of the region’s major trade routes. What was well known by ancient Chinese seafarers, European explorers and Arabian traders is a fact that is being happily rediscovered by astute airlines,” he added.
Today, Malaysia has a strong proposition as a regional hub, with a unique multicultural, multilingual population supporting good aviation infrastructure. “The current global and regional economic conditions actually work to the advantage of airlines seeking an ideal hub in Asia,” said Ghazali.
Aviation Fuel prices are at a recent low, but more importantly the lowered value of the Malaysian ringgit in relation to the US dollar gives immediate operational cost benefits to airlines. “Do the math – compare the cost of operating into Malaysia and into any of our neighbouring nations – it is a no brainer. Look at the volume of outbound passengers generated, and the growing volume of transit traffic through Kuala Lumpur, and you will see both short-term advantages and long-term profitability in choosing Malaysia as a regional hub,” added Ghazali.
As part of its promise to not just work with, but for airlines, Malaysia Airports is currently working to grow non-aeronautical sources of revenue so it can keep the costs down for its airline partners. “Talk to us with confidence,” said Ghazali. “Remember that at Malaysia Airports, your bottom line is our top priority.”