MAHB beats Q1 2019 record with 31.4mil passenger movements in January-March 2024 quarter

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd's (MAHB) airports recorded more than 90 per cent recovery in the first quarter of 2024 (Q1 2024) with 31.4 million passenger movements against Q1 2019, setting a new milestone. 

International passenger movements surpassed Q1 2019 for the first time by five per cent, registering 16.9 million for current quarter under review, mainly driven by Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (SGIA) airlines' strong network international expansion. 

SGIA airline's recorded a double-digit recovery rate of 73.8 per cent over the same quarter in 2019, while Malaysia

international passengers continued to register new highs. 

Domestic passenger movements were

subtle, recording 14.5 million with an 82.9 per cent recovery rate over 2019 levels, an indication that airlines

are expanding more to the international sector compared to domestic.

"In addition, March 2024 passenger movements were encouraging, despite the Ramadan month, the network of airports recorded 10.2 million passengers slightly higher than January 2024 normal month, driven by both domestic and international sectors. 

"In the past, Ramadan month posted the lowest traffic for the year," it said in a statement. 

On the local front, Malaysia Airports Q1 2024 total passenger movements recorded the highest traffic at 21.8 million passengers since 2020 and reaching 85.9 per cent of Q1 2019 traffic. 

International sector contributed 53.7 per cent at 11.7 million passengers with an 89.4 per cent recovery rate versus Q1 2019, while the domestic sector recorded 10.1 million passengers reaching 82.2 per cent of Q1 2019 levels. 

The average daily passengers for the month of March was higher by 1.5 per cent compared to January with additional 3,300 passengers.

Meanwhile, Kenanga Research expects expect business and leisure air travel to continue recovering throughout the year. 

"According to our in-house projection, tourist arrivals in Malaysia are expected to jump 35 per cent to 27 million, consistent with Tourism Malaysia's projection to return to pre-pandemic levels, in FY24 from an estimated 20 million a year ago," it said in a note. 

A key driver to the growth is Chinese tourists that had historically contributed to an estimated 12 per cent total tourist arrivals in Malaysia. 

The firm added tourist arrivals are expected to be boosted by the 30-day visa-free regime for Chinese and Indian visitors to Malaysia starting from December last year; and China allowing Malaysian inbound visitors 15 visa-free days between Dec 1, 2023 and Nov 30, 2024. 

It kept its "Market Perform" call on MAHB with a target price of RM9.

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