Spanking new look at Senai Airport30 Aug 2018, by The Malaysian Reserve

The look and feel of Senai International Airport (Senai Airport), the Johor-based airport that served more than three million passengers last year, is certainly making a difference.

The refurbished terminal now boasts a fresh look with a modern and clean design aimed at providing a more practical and comfortable travelling experience.

While taking into account the core fundamentals of hospitality, the terminal has also enhanced security and other aspects vital to a fully-functioning airport.

The departure hall and check-in space appear brighter and more spacious with the installation of eco-friendly LED lighting and new vinyl flooring, which stands up well to heavy foot traffic — comfortable under foot — and reduces noise.

The check-in and immigration counters have been replaced with a more distinctive design intended to give a welcoming impression to travellers.

The departure hall is now separated into international and domestic boarding halls, meeting the requirement of Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia’s (formerly known as the Department of Civil Aviation or DCA) regulation.

On top of that, the terminal is now equipped with additional closed-circuit televisions (CCTVs) and x-ray machines to enhance the safety and security of the growing number of passengers. There are 44 new units of flight information display systems, five X-ray machines and 74 CCTVs around the terminal area.

These are some of the changes that have been carried out by Senai Airport Terminal Services Sdn Bhd (SATSSB), a member of MMC Group, that owns and manages the operation of the airport.

“The upgrade has seen an increase in the overall operational efficiency, while at the same time changing and improving the travelling experience for passengers,” said SATSSB CEO Md Derick Basir.

He said the upgrade, completed in March 2018, provided more fluidity across the entire customer journey, with the availability of facilities and equipment, as well as the increase in security and commercial offerings.

The airport is also now equipped with an additional eight check-in counters, bringing the total to 24 units. The new check-in counters are also equipped with a new conveyor belt.

Passenger Numbers

The refurbishment and enhancement work certainly came at a right time as Senai Airport is seeing a bump in the number of passengers.

Between 2014 and 2017, the airport sustained an average passenger growth of 10% per annum. Last year, it created a new milestone in its history when it chalked past three million passengers in a single year.

On Dec 30, 2017, the Johor-based air- port celebrated its three millionth passenger for that year, a new high since its inception in 1974. In 2003, when taken over from Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB), it was then handling about 800,000 passengers, which grew to about 1.3 million in 2012.

Formerly known as Sultan Ismail International Airport, Senai Airport is the domestic and international airport serving the southern region of Peninsular Malaysia. Built in 1974, it was earlier operated by DCA up to 1992, and then by MAHB.

Located in one of Malaysia’s most strategic development zones, Iskandar Malaysia, the airport enjoys close proximity to modern port facilities of Port of Tanjung Pelepas and Johor Port. The airport is also linked to the nation’s major highways and railway networks which span across Peninsular Malaysia.

Retail Offerings

Much work has also gone into sprucing up its retail front. The airport now has added 5,505 sq ft of new leasable areas to its departure hall, bumping up the total space to 16,043 sq ft.

Some of the international names that have come on board in the last two years include Starbucks, WHSmith, O’Briens Irish Sandwich Bar, Boost Juice and Burger King. And then, there are the local players such as The ZON Duty Free and Coffee Sandwich Revival.

WHSmith manages a combined store area of over 900 sq m across the international and domestic departure lounges, as well as a landside store.

“The stores look fantastic and feedback from customers has been really positive,” WHSmith international chairman Louis de Bourgoing said in a recent statement.

The presence of new outlets offers more values and choices for airport users, in line with the airport’s aim to increase international and local retailing brands, to cater to the growth of passenger movement.

Compared to same-sized airports in the region, Senai Airport believes its retail, as well as food and beverage offerings are lavish due to the variety they provide.

“However, it is always our priority and responsibility to monitor and control the tenants’ mixture in order to keep the business environment healthy and to ensure their sustainability,” said Md Derick.