LAST_UPDATEFri, 20 Jul 2018 10pm

AirAsia, MASkargo Defend 'Airline Of The Year' Titles At 2016 KLIA Awards

SEPANG: AirAsia and MASkargo have defended their titles as the Airline of the Year in the passenger and cargo categories, respectively, at the 2016 Kuala Lumpur International (KLIA) Awards tonight.

Both airlines were winners of the same categories last year.

Emirates bagged the Foreign Airline of the Year award for the passenger category while Cathay Pacific Airways emerged tops in the cargo category.

AirAsia once again was named as the winner of the Low Cost Airline of the Year award.

The Promising New Foreign Airline of the Year award went to VietJet Air while the Best On Time Performance Airline of the Year award went to SilkAir.

Three new categories were also introduced in this year's awards - Government Agency of the Year; Small Medium Enterprise of the Year; and Foreign Airline of the Year by Sector (Passenger) Central Asia.

The winners were the KLIA Health Department for the Government Agency of the Year award; Rasa Tidbits by Pandan Klasik Sdn Bhd (Small Medium Enterprise of the Year) and Uzbekistan Airways (Foreign Airline of the Year by Sector-Passenger Central Asia).

The awards were presented by Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and Malaysia Airports managing director Datuk Badlisham Ghazali.

Since its inception in 2006, the KLIA Awards is an annual event that honours its partners for their outstanding performances and services.

Liow, in his speech earlier, said KLIA surpassed the 50 million passengers mark last year and grew by 7.6 per cent to nearly 53 million passengers.

"Until August 2017, KLIA registered a growth of 13.7 per cent compared to the same period last year."

With the opening of klia2, its second terminal serving low-cost carriers, he said KLIA currently caters to over 60 airlines serving more than 120 direct destinations and is one of the top 25 busiest airports in the world.

The success of KLIA, said Liow, would not have been made possible without the the dedicated people - airport operator, airlines, service providers, government agencies, retailers, contractors, ground handlers and many others.

To date, KLIA has received more than 80 awards and accolades locally and internationally.

Badlisham, meanwhile, said KLIA is now the 14th busiest airport in the world for international passenger movements.

Last year, 70 per cent of the 53 million movements were international traffic, he said.

He added that KLIA had welcomed several new airlines this year including Himalaya Airlines, Thai Smile Airways, US Bangla Airlines, JC Cambodia, Cathay Dragon and Batik Air Indonesia.

"Philippines Airlines has also resumed their KLIA-Manila route after a four-year hiatus."

Badlisham said several others had also taken the opportunity to modernise their fleet such as Saudi Airlines and Uzbekistan Airways, which had introduced the Dreamliner 787-9 and 787 aircraft, respectively, to fly into KLIA.