Passengers flying in and out of Malaysia to reach up 107.1 million in 2024: Mavcom

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's air passenger traffic is expected to reach between 93.9 million and 107.1 million passengers in 2024, reflecting a growth of 10-25 per cent year-on-year (YoY).

Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) said the forecast reflects a recovery of up to 98 per cent of 2019 levels.

"Domestic and international travel to China and the Asean region will influence the recovery momentum," the aviation regulator said in its latest edition of the Waypoint Report today.

"Downside risks include heightened jet fuel prices, depreciation of the ringgit, delays in aircraft deliveries, and manpower-related issues," Mavcom added.

For the first three quarters in 2023, Malaysia's passenger traffic grew consistently at an average rate of 7.6 per cent QoQ. As at October, passenger traffic reached 69.9 million. 

Due to the stronger-than-anticipated performance, Mavcom revised upwards its air passenger traffic forecast for 2023. 

It is now expected to grow by 54-58 per cent YoY, translating to 84.5 million to 86.5 million passengers over the previous forecast of 74.6 million-80.8 million passengers.

Menawhile, Malaysia's cargo volume dropped 15.3 per cent YoY to 4.7 billion freight tonne kilometre (FTK) in Q3 2023, due to weakened external demand, slower global growth, and the ongoing geopolitical crises. 

Thus, Mavcom revised the 2023 air cargo forecast downward, with an anticipated decline of 14.1 per cent YoY to 13.5 per cent YoY translating to 18.7 billion to 18.8 billion FTK. 

A potential turnaround is expected in 2024, with projected growth of 6.0 per cent YoY to 6.6 per cent YoY translating to 19.8 billion to 20.0 billion FTK, driven by the low base in 2023, a potential upturn in the global technology cycle, continued recovery in China, and expected economic stabilisation.

In terms of connectivity, Mavcom said Malaysia remained in the fifth position in Asean, with a connectivity score of 79.7 in Q3 2023. 

Kuala Lumpur International Airport ranked third among the major airports in Asean in terms of direct air connectivity with a score of 59.9. 

Singapore's Changi Airport remained at the forefront with a score of 102.1, followed by Thailand's Suvarnabhumi Airport at 89.1. 

"About 55.3 per cent of Malaysia's international seat capacity was concentrated on Asean destinations, indicating a significant reliance on traffic between neighbouring countries. 

"Based on several indicators - number of hub passengers, number of connecting flights, number of direct destinations, number of airlines, and average connecting times - Asean airports show mixed international hub connectivity performance in 2023. 

"This analysis enables stakeholders to identify gaps and weaknesses, as well as develop and implement actionable strategies to enhance hub connectivity," it added.

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