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Destination Spotlight: Langkawi, Malaysia

The 20th Routes Asia will take place next February in Langkawi, the Malaysian island that draws tourists from all over the world, as well as visitors for international conventions and exhibitions.

Surrounded by white beaches, the island is a mixture of jungle-clad hills and picturesque paddy fields. It is also designated with UNESCO Global Geopark status, making it the only Southeast Asian destination to attain the level.

Having previously hosted Routes Asia in 2014, Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) will be uniting with Tourism Malaysia to welcome delegates to Langkawi. Malaysia Airports is one of the largest airport operator groups in the world by passenger numbers, managing 39 airports across Malaysia and five internationally, while Tourism Malaysia is on a mission to make tourism a major contributor to the socioeconomic development of the nation.

The event comes as traffic in Malaysia continues to rebound strongly following the pandemic. Latest figures show that MAHB’s airports continued to show resilience, handling more than 10 million passengers in October 2023, despite the month of October being generally a low season month for travelling.

International and domestic passenger movements registered 5.1 million and 5 million respectively, an increase of 40.3% and 7% respectively over the same month last year. Traffic has now reached more than 87% of pre-pandemic levels for both sectors.

Recent new routes from Malaysia include Malaysia Airlines’ 4X-weekly service from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Ahmedabad, India, and Philippine AirAisa’s Manilla-KUL route.

In late September, Dubai-based LCC flydubai also announced plans to expanding its Southeast Asia network with the launch of flights to Malaysia, becoming the first airline to offer service connecting the United Arab Emirates with Langkawi and Penang. The airline intends to begin the Dubai-Penang-Langkawi route from Feb. 10, 2024. Operations will be daily using Boeing 737 MAX 8s. “These destinations in Malaysia offer cultural diversity, leisure activities and investment opportunities,” flydubai CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith says. “Our new flights will be popular for passengers not only from the UAE, but from the GCC and the European markets as well.”

According to OAG Schedules Analyser data, there are four routes linking the UAE and Malaysia at present, all of which are to KUL. Emirates offers a 3X-daily service from Dubai International (DXB), while Etihad Airways and Air Arabia provide daily flights from Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, respectively. Additionally, Batik Air Malaysia launched a new 2X-weekly KUL-DXB service in mid-November.

Source : Aviation Week