Johor tourism, trade and consumerism committee chairman Datuk Tee Siew Kiong said the airport could expect more air passengers to pass through with more new routes likely to be introduced in the near future.
“Air connectivity is important if Johor wants to attract more domestic and foreign tourists to visit the state and have repeat visitors,” he said.
Tee said this at a ceremony to celebrate the three millionth passenger in one single year, marking a new milestone in Senai International Airport’s history since its inception in 1974.
Senai International Airport is the only privately managed civilian airport in Malaysia. Senai Airport Terminal Services Sdn Bhd (SATSSB) is a member of MMC Group.
Prior to the acquisition in 2003, the airport was handling only over 800,000 passengers.
He said in 2013, some 1.3 million passengers were recorded and that the figure went up to 2.3 million in 2014, 2.5 million (2015), 2.8 million in (2016) and 3.1 million in 2017.
Tee said international passengers increased from 137,000 in 2013 to 431,000 in 2016, with mainland Chinese and Indonesians being major passengers passing through its doors.
“Apart from tourists, we can expect more investors and businessmen to come to Johor in view of the progress and development taking place, especially in Iskandar Malaysia,” he said.
SATSSB chief executive officer Md Derick Basir said currently there were four airlines operating in the airport serving 11 domestic and seven international routes, with an average of 90 daily flight movements.
The domestic routes are Kuala Lumpur, Subang, Penang, Langkawi, Kuching, Miri, Tawau, Sibu, Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Terengganu and Ipoh from Johor Baru.
The international destinations are Bangkok, Guangzhou, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, Surabaya, Kolkata and Macau.
“The growth in the number of air passengers via our airport is spurred by Iskandar Malaysia’s rapid development and vibrant economic activities,” he said.
Derick said starting from tomorrow, South Korea’s Jin Air would start its twice-weekly chartered scheduled flight from Seoul to Johor Baru using Boeing 777 with a 390 seating capacity.