Airports see 9.7% spike in passenger traffic in June

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on July 11, 2018.
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KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) saw 9.7% more passengers pass through the 39 airports it manages in the country in June this year to 8.38 million, from 7.64 million a year ago.

This is the highest growth registered for a month in 2018.

International and domestic passenger traffic grew by 8.3% and 11.1% to 4.21 million and 4.17 million, respectively in June 2018 from 3.88 million and 3.76 million, respectively, in June 2017.

"Domestic sector registered the first positive growth since November 2017. The average domestic load factor at 76.2% was also the highest for the year," said MAHB in a filing with Bursa Malaysia yesterday.

Overall aircraft movements also increased by 4.1% year-on-year (y-o-y), with international movements up 5.9% while domestic rose 3% over June 2017. The average load factor increased by 1.2 percentage points to 75.9% in June 2018.

The Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang handled 4.98 million passengers in June 2018, up 9.7% from 4.54 million passengers a year ago.

Of this, passenger traffic at KLIA main terminal rose 6.7% y-o-y to 2.33 million from 2.18 million, while klia2 recorded a 12.5% increase in traffic to 2.65 million in June 2018 from 2.36 million in June 2017.

Systemwide, including its Istanbul operations in Turkey, MAHB handled 9.5% more passengers to 11.18 million in June 2018 compared with 10.21 million a year ago.

Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport's (SGIA) passenger traffic grew 9.1% y-o-y in June 2018 to 2.8 million from 2.57 million.

“The high 9.5% [growth] was mainly due to [the] Eid Al-Fitr holiday season,” MAHB said, adding that the festive season had coincided with the two-week mid-term school break as well.

While the holidays and festive season were the main contributors to the traffic growth, the airport operator noted that the high growth rate at the tail end of the month was partly due to the lower base during the 2017 fasting month.

"There was a significant increase in passenger travel between Malaysia and Indonesia, China, South Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan, Oman and Maldives in June 2018 over June 2017, almost all of which experienced double-digit growth," it added.

In the first five months of 2018 (5M18), MAHB said airports in Malaysia registered a 3% growth in passenger volume to 48.73 million from the year-ago period. Aircraft movements grew by 1.5% y-o-y in 5M18.

KLIA passenger movements grew by 4.3% y-o-y to 29.71 million passengers in 5M18. Of this, KLIA main terminal passenger movements declined by 1.4%, which was offset by the 9.9% increase in traffic at klia2 to 15.97 million passengers.

Systemwide, including Istanbul SGIA, MAHB's airports recorded a growth of 5.2% y-o-y to 64.93 million passengers in 5M18. Total passenger traffic at Istanbul SGIA rose 12.4% to 16.2 million passengers in 5M18.

Going forward, MAHB said airlines' seat filings for the next six months showed some moderation in international traffic and upswing in domestic travel for Malaysia.

“The anticipated increase in air travel leading to and post the 14th general election had been below expectation,” the group said, adding that the growth for the next six months is expected to be moderate.

The growth momentum in Istanbul’s SGIA, meanwhile, is likely to hold based on current market condition.