MAHB’s passenger traffic plunges 99% in April due to lockdown

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KUALA LUMPUR (May 12): Weighed down by the movement control order (MCO) and the temporary suspension of Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (SGIA), Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB)’s passenger traffic for April plunged by 98.8% from a year ago to 137,000.

International and domestic passenger movements during the month stood at 40,000 and 97,000 respectively, according to MAHB’ filing with Bursa Malaysia.

On a 12-month basis, MAHB’s network of airports registered 121.6 million passengers, a decline of 10% over the same period last year.

Overall aircraft movements in April contracted by 91.6% compared with the same month of 2019, with international and domestic aircraft movements down 92.9% and 90.7% respectively, said the airport operator.

KLIA recorded 56,000 passenger movements with Asean and non-Asean sectors registering 11,000 and 29,000 passenger movements respectively.

On the local front, passenger movements in April for KLIA Main Terminal and klia2 recorded 49,000 and 8,000 passengers.

Overall aircraft movements at KLIA declined by 93.4% over April 2019. International and domestic aircraft movements at KLIA decreased 91.9% and 96.5% respectively, MAHB said.

Passenger movements at the other local airports declined by 97.7% year-on-year with 81,000 passengers in April, MAHB added.

“International passenger movements recorded marginal passenger volumes, while the domestic sector recorded approximately 81,000 passenger movements,” said MAHB, adding that aircraft movements declined by 86.2%.

The international and domestic aircraft movements declined by 87.2% and 86% over April 2019.

Meanwhile, Istanbul SGIA was temporarily closed for operations since March 27, following the Turkish government’s decision to close borders.

Nevertheless, there were several cargo flights in April and more cargo and charter flights are expected to take place in May, with Pegasus and Turkish Airlines planning to resume operations from May 28 onwards, MAHB said.

MAHB noted that local airlines have recommenced flights to key domestic routes with minimal frequencies from April 29 and are ready to increase more flights, with the government’s endorsement to allow more inter-state border movements with strict travelling guidelines.

“The latest announcement of a Conditional Movement Control Order from May 4, 2020 allowed almost all businesses to resume with tight SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) guidelines,” MAHB said.

Moving forward, MAHB sees a new norm of travelling that would have additional processes, mask enforcement and social distancing amongst others, to ensure a safer travel experience for the time being.

Heightening safety measures and innovative ways to resume the traveller’s confidence via technology approach will play a bigger role, MAHB said.

Amid the MCO, Malaysia Airports has embarked on upgrading its core network operating system as part of its digital transformation program.

“The upgrading would also support other infrastructure enhancements and capacity developments to provide better process automation, augmented contactless self-service, robotics and biometrics technology and would allow Malaysia Airports to realise its Airports 4.0 initiative in full throttle, once the pandemic is under control,” the airport operator said.

Shares of MAHB closed 10 sen or 2.04% lower at RM4.80 today, valuing the group at RM7.96 billion. Year-to-date, the counter has fallen by 36.8%.

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