MAHB says 2019 air traffic growth at 5.6%, surpasses target

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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 10): Passengers who passed through Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd’s (MAHB’s) total network of airports, including the group’s Turkey Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (ISG), grew 5.6% to 140.63 million in 2019 from 2018's 133.16 million.

The growth surpassed the 4.9% target MAHB set for 2019, according to the airport operator in a statement today, as international passenger movements registered growth of 6.2% to 67.34 million from 63.38 million in 2018, it said, while its domestic passenger movements grew 5% to 73.3 million from 69.78 million.

"Despite the slower growth of the international passengers in comparison to the domestic passengers, international movements continued to retain more than 50% of the passenger market share for 2019. All international regions recorded growth between 0.4% for Southwest Pacific region to 40.2% for North America through the Honolulu service. Twelve of the 21 MAHB main airports, especially from Sabah and Sarawak, registered high double-digit growth in passenger movements," MAHB said.

Overall aircraft movements for the year grew 3.1%, with international aircraft movements rising 3.9% and domestic ones increasing 2.6%.

The final month of 2019 contributed 12.78 million passenger movements to MAHB's overall network of airports, 5.8% more than the 12.08 million recorded in the same month a year ago, with its Malaysian airports making up 9.94 million, up 5.4% from 9.44 million previously. ISG contributed the remainder 2.84 million in 2019, up 7.3% from 2.64 million.

At its Malaysian operations, passenger movements for the full year crossed the 100 million threshold for the first time, it said, at 105.17 million, up 6.1% from 2018's 99.10 million, with KLIA seeing passenger movements coming in above 60 million for the first time. ISG, meanwhile, saw a 4.1% increase to 35.47 million from 34.06 million.

"KLIA passenger movements registered 62.3 million passengers in 2019, a growth of 3.9% over 2018. International and domestic passenger movements grew by 3% and 6.2%, respectively. KLIA Main Terminal passenger movements increased by 3.9% to 29.2 million while klia2 passenger movements also increased by 3.9% to 33.1 million," it noted.

In particular for the month of December, KLIA Main Terminal's passenger movements grew 7.3% to 2.9 million from 2.7 million a year ago, while klia2 passenger movements grew 1.4% to 3.03 million from 2.99 million. While both saw growth in international passengers during the month — at 5.2% to 2.33 million for KLIA Main Terminal and 4.7% to 2.01 million at klia2 — only KLIA Main Terminal saw domestic passenger growth of 16.6% to 573,000. In contrast, klia2's domestic passenger movements dropped 4.5% to 1.02 million.

MAHB said growth in 2019 was supported by airlines’ additional frequencies, direct connectivity and also contribution by new routes that were not operated previously.

In 2019, 12 new airlines began new operations or completed full-year new operations over 2018 into MAHB’s Malaysia airports, with 16 new destinations operated by existing and new airlines.

For 2020, MAHB said the Visit Malaysia Year (VMY2020) campaign, along with the Government’s announcement of visa-free entrance for Chinese and Indian tourists, is expected to have a positive impact on the passenger movements.

“These travellers who make up about 23% of air passengers in 2019 will be an additional catalyst to boost international passenger traffic movements. In the past, during normal Visit Malaysia Years, the international traffic growth had been commendable, and the international traffic is likely to get a similar boost from the VMY2020 activities,” it added.