NEW YORK: Turkiye has agreed that Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) will continue to operate the Istanbul Sabiha Gokchen (ISG) International Airport.
During their bilateral meeting today, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan conveyed the agreement to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
"He (Erdogan) agreed that MAHB should continue operating the ISG as they are satisfied with the success of the company in the first stage and now they want to extend (operations), including building a longer runway," he said at a press conference after meeting with the Turkiye president.
Anwar, who is in New York to attend the 78th United Nations General Assembly, said Turkiye strongly believed that MAHB was best suited and capable of running the ISG operations.
Although the agreement to continue operations by MAHB has been announced, Anwar said it will go through the normal process by the relevant ministry.
"This tremendous support is also a vote of confidence in the Malaysian company to develop and manage the ISG," he added.
Fully owned by MAHB, the airport is the sixth busiest gateway in Europe, with passenger numbers reaching 25 million in 2021, which is 70 per cent of the pre-pandemic level.
At the meeting, which was also attended by Cabinet ministers from both parties, Anwar said they also discussed efforts to increase bilateral cooperation in terms of investment and trade.
Malaysia is Turkiye's largest trading partner in ASEAN with a trade volume of US$4.7 billion (US$1=RM4.51) in 2022, a 35 per cent growth from 2021.
Malaysia's total export volume to Turkiye in 2022 reached RM17.39 billion, which is largely comprised of palm oil, palm oil-based agricultural products, metal manufacturing, textiles, clothing, footwear, electrical and electronic products and palm oil-based manufactured products.
Total imports in 2022 stood at RM2.86 billion which includes petroleum products, jewellery, iron and steel products, chemicals and chemical products, textiles, clothing and footwear.