Mavcom: Passenger traffic grew 12.6pc in February, nearing pre-pandemic levels

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia saw passenger traffic through its airports grow by 12.6 per cent month-on-month (MoM) to 8.1 million in February, thanks to an increase in both international and domestic travellers.

The Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) said February 2024's passenger traffic reached 95.4 per cent of February 2019.

This brings the year-to-date passenger traffic total to 15.3 million, a 21 per cent increase from the same period in 2023, which recorded 12.6 million passengers. 

Mavcom said February 2024's performance underscores the anticipated growth trajectory in the aviation sector.

Commenting on the overall data, Mavcom executive chairman Datuk Saripuddin Kasim said the present data indicates that the demand for air travel in Malaysia may reach pre-pandemic level by the end of 2024 and potentially surpass it in 2025. 

However, he said the current aircraft capacity remains a pressing issue due to supply chain disruption, causing delays in aircraft deliveries.  "Therefore, it is imperative that airlines meticulously plan their network and allocate their resources efficiently.  "In addition, airport operators must ensure that existing infrastructures are sufficient and able to accommodate the increased demand to maintain a high degree of service quality," he noted.

Mavcom expects its air passenger traffic forecast for 2024 to range between 93.9 and 107.1 million passengers,

Mavcom attributed the increase in overall passenger  festive season, month-long school holiday and the 30-day visa exemptions for China and India tourists.

Domestic and international passenger traffic contributed to 49.3 per cent and 50.7 per cent respectively to overall traffic in February 2024, marking a 3.2 percentage point increase in domestic passenger traffic share compared with January 2024.

The February figures represent a substantial 34.8 per cent year-on-year (YoY) growth compared to February 2023, which recorded 6.01 million passengers.

Of the 8.1 million passengers, 7.81 million, or 96.5 per cent, constitute passenger traffic at all airports operated by Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB), it said in a statement.

The remaining 0.29 million passengers, or 3.6 per cent, represent movements at Senai International Airport, operated by Senai Airport Terminal Services Sdn Bhd.

According to Mavcom, the data showed a notable MoM growth across all regions, with domestic passenger traffic leading with a 20.4 per cent increase, from 3.32 million in January to 3.99 million in February 2024. 

"International passenger traffic saw a positive MoM growth rate of 5.9 per cent. 

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