PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd’s (MAHB) Turkish asset Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (ISG) registered 3.2 million passenger movements last month, equivalent to 90% of pre-pandemic volume of August 2019, led by summer travel surge.

On the whole, ISG saw a 7% increase from July and was the main contributor to the group’s total passenger movements of 3.5 million in August 2021.

MAHB noted that Turkey has relaxed restrictions, allowed border and intercity travel and lifted a nationwide curfew. Along with the country’s vaccination progress as well as the acceptance of European Union and Turkish Covid-19 certificate, all those measures have spurred travel within Turkey and Europe.

In the first half of this year, the Turkish airport was crowned the fourth busiest airport in Europe, while flight bookings data showed Turkey and Istanbul listed as the third best performing country and major city at 62.0% and 56.5% pre-2019 levels respectively.

Back home, MAHB’s network of airports registered 296,000 passengers, consisting of 88,000 international passengers and 208,000 domestic passengers in August. Despite a slight increase from July, traffic remained low with the prolonged travel restrictions on both the domestic and international sectors.

“However, on a positive note, the group is looking forward to the opening of the domestic travel bubble this month with Langkawi as the first destination,” it said in a statement today.

The airport operator revealed that most of its airports are ready for fill operations as most states are progressing between phases 2 and 3 of the National Recovery Plan, an encouraging sign for the recovery of local tourism and travel.

Overall, it remains optimistic with the gradual increase in air travel globally and domestically, MAHB said all of its international airports have received the ACI Airport Health Accreditation, providing assurance for passengers that globally recognised safety measures are in place. The group is looking to achieve 100% full vaccination rate of its workforce by the end of this month.