Malaysian air passenger traffic up 4% in March, says MAHB

Malaysian air passenger traffic up 4% in March, says MAHB
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KUALA LUMPUR (April 10): The number of passengers passing through the 39 airports Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) manages in the country rose by 4% to 8.6 million in March 2018 from 8.27 million a year ago.

The international passenger volume recorded an 11.8% year-on-year (y-o-y) increase to 4.5 million passengers in March 2018, while domestic traffic recorded a decline of 3.5% to 4.1 million passengers.

In a statement today, MAHB said overall aircraft movements increased by a marginal 0.8% y-o-y in March 2018. International aircraft movements grew by 9.6% y-o-y, while domestic movements declined by 4.4% y-o-y.

"Average load factor for total traffic slipped by 0.4 percentage points to 76.9 in March 2018 over March 2017, caused by the reduction in the domestic sector by 1.7 percentage points," it added.

The Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang handled 5.23 million passengers in March 2018, up 6.4% from 4.92 million passengers recorded a year ago. Out of this, passenger traffic at KLIA Main Terminal fell 1.2% y-o-y to 2.42 million from 2.45 million, which was offset by klia2's continued double digit growth trend as the terminal saw a 14% y-o-y increase in traffic to 2.82 million in March 2018 from 2.47 million.

Systemwide including its Istanbul operations in Turkey, MAHB handled 6.5% more passengers amounting to 11.33 million in March 2018 compared with 10.64 million in March 2017.
Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport's (SGIA) passenger traffic grew 15.2% y-o-y in March 2018 to 2.73 million from 2.37 million.

In the first quarter of 2018 (1Q18), MAHB said airports in Malaysia registered a 3.6% growth in passenger volume to 24.4 million from the year-ago period. International traffic increased by 10.8%, while domestic traffic declined by 3.5%.

Aircraft movements grew by 1.2% y-o-y in 1Q18.

KLIA passenger movements grew by 5.7% y-o-y to 15 million passengers in 1Q18. Out of this, KLIA Main Terminal passenger movements declined by 1.5%, which was offset by the 12.7% increase in traffic at klia2 to 8.1 million passengers.

Systemwide including Istanbul SGIA, MAHB's airports recorded a growth of 6.9% y-o-y to 32.2 million passengers in 1Q18. Total passenger traffic at Istanbul SGIA rose 18.6% to 7.8 million passengers in 1Q18.

"Despite the overall credible average load factor of 75.6 percentage points for the domestic sector, there was significant reduction in the domestic aircraft movements for Malaysia by some domestic airlines," said MAHB.

"AirAsia Bhd did contribute a large increase in seat capacity for domestic sector but less than adequate to cover the reductions and cancellations by other airlines," it added.

The airport operator attributed the decline in domestic passenger movements to large cuts in frequencies and the high traffic base in March 2017 due to the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition.

"The anticipated much higher movements for domestic sector during the election period has been less promising. It is expected that the domestic trend would pick up momentum from April or at the least by May based on high prevailing load factors and airlines seat capacity filings for the northern summer season," said MAHB.

Moving forward, MAHB sees some moderation in international growth and a positive turnaround in the domestic sector for Malaysia operations.

"Istanbul SGIA performance will likely maintain its growth momentum for both domestic and international passenger traffic in the immediate term," it said.

MAHB shares closed four sen or 0.45% higher at RM9 today, bringing a market capitalisation of RM14.93 billion. Over the past 12 months, the counter has gained 25.67%.