MAHB's October 2021 Malaysia passenger count overtakes December 2020 holiday season

Photo by Zahid Izzani Mohd Said/The Edge

Photo by Zahid Izzani Mohd Said/The Edge

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KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 19): Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) is seeing positive development in its domestic passenger traffic, as October's passenger count overtook the December 2020 holiday-season month.

October passenger count across its Malaysian airports came in at 1.3 million, from 1.07 million in December when both months witnessed relaxation of interstate travel.

"The higher pent-up demand in October 2021 compared with December 2020 following relaxed travel rules combined with higher vaccination rates are positive developments for traffic to rebound strongly in the months to come," MAHB said in its filing.

The benchmark also rose 91.1% year-on-year (y-o-y) from 680,000 in October 2020, and up 183.8% quarter-on-quarter from 458,000 in September 2021. Malaysia relaxed its interstate borders on Oct 11, 2021.

KLIA and klia2 total passenger movements came in at 470,000, up 122% y-o-y from 212,000 in October 2020.

The strong demand in domestic flights in Malaysia, combined with strong inflow of international passengers at the Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (SGIA), helped MAHB clock in 4.1 million passengers in October 2021 — the highest passenger volume since the pandemic.

Meanwhile, total aircraft movement across the entire MAHB system came in at 42,820, up 36.8% from 31,292 in October 2020.

"Istanbul SGIA passenger movements registered 2.8 million passenger movements, recording 88.3% of passenger traffic share in October 2019, growth of 44.8% over October 2020.

"October international passenger movements were another significant milestone for Istanbul SGIA, registering 1.1 million passengers or 84.1% of October 2019, the highest passenger volume handled by the airport since April 2020," it said.

"It is encouraging to note that Istanbul is on track for traffic recovery and had achieved 2019 domestic connectivity to 37 domestic destinations, while the international connectivity was 93 destinations as of October.

"Pre-Covid-19, Istanbul SGIA connected to 174 destinations with 137 international and 37 was to domestic destinations and has reached 68.6% of 2019 passenger movements," MAHB added.

"While improvements in international flights were marginal, MAHB sees the Langkawi quarantine-free travel bubble open for vaccinated foreign tourists from Nov 16 as a positive development to revive international connectivity.

"In addition, the encouraging announcements of establishing a travel corridor via Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) between Malaysia and Singapore from Nov 29, 2021, plans to establish a quarantine-free VTL for fully vaccinated travellers from the UK and vice versa, and the most recent announcement on plans to open the country's borders to revive the tourism sector, latest by Jan 1, 2022, are some of the progressive milestones for a realistic gradual traffic recovery in the international sector," it added.

Shares of MAHB slipped eight sen or 1.24% to close at RM6.37 on Friday, valuing the group with a market capitalisation of 10.57 billion.

Tan Choe Choe