Malaysia’s air passenger traffic grew 123.6% year-on-year (y-o-y) to 19.4 million in the first quarter of 2023 (1Q23), says the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom).
The performance was attributed to the rise in international passenger traffic in tandem with the full reopening of the country’s international borders, Mavcom said in a statement in conjunction with the release of its latest bi-annual Waypoint report.
“Following the full reopening of international borders, international passenger traffic grew at an average of 80.9% quarter-on-quarter.
“The approved international air traffic rights also demonstrated a notable y-o-y increase of 246.1%, underscoring the steady revival of the international market,” it said, adding that total passenger traffic stood at 73% of 2019 level.
Furthermore, the civil aviation regulator said Malaysia’s air connectivity ranking improved to fifth place in Asean, overtaking the Philippines, with a connectivity score of 61 in 2022, reflecting a vibrant recovery in the aviation industry.
This improvement was due to higher deployment of international seats to destinations with a higher weightage following the lifting of border restrictions in 3Q22, it said.
“Kuala Lumpur International Airport’s (KLIA) Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 maintained its position as the fourth-most connected airport in Asean,” it said.
Based on the Waypoint report, Mavcom noted that the revenue per available seat kilometre and cost per available seat kilometre spread had stabilised to 1.6 sen in 4Q22.
Meanwhile, the country’s cargo performance in 1Q23 declined as total freight tonne kilometre fell 11% y-o-y to 4,666 million, marking the second declining quarter in a row, it said.
“This reduction is in line with Malaysia’s trading performance during the quarter due to several factors including a slowdown in the global economy, a continued shift in consumer spending from products to services and a downcycle in the electrical and electronics industry,” it said.
Mavcom executive chairman Datuk Seri Saripuddin Kasim said despite the downturn in cargo traffic in 1Q23, the remarkable surge in passenger traffic painted a compelling picture of the resilience inherent in the industry.
“This remarkable performance not only demonstrates our ability to rebound but also provides a solid foundation for continued growth in the sector throughout 2023,” he said.
The commission maintains its December 2022 air passenger traffic forecast as it expects air passenger traffic to rise between 40% and 52% y-o-y in 2023 to reach between 74.6 million and 80.8 million passengers.
Air cargo traffic is forecast to grow between 3% and 4.8% y-o-y in 2023, given the challenging cargo performance in 1Q23, it said.
It added that the year’s cargo traffic would hover near the lower end of the forecast, suggesting much slower growth, it added.
Source : The Star