By FARA AISYAH / Pic By TMR File
LOCAL airports owned by Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) registered 8.1 million passengers in January, a 1.5% increase from a year ago, helped by the increase in international traffic.
The airport operator recorded a 9% growth for its international sector with 4.4 million passengers, while domestic travellers declined 6.4% to 3.6 million passengers.
The company told Bursa Malaysia that the positive passenger traffic growth in the first month of 2018 was encouraging despite the high base in the same month last year.
“The lower domestic passenger movements were expected due to the shift in the Chinese
New Year festive season to Feb 16 and Feb 17 this year, compared to Jan 28 and Jan 29 in 2017,” it said.
In the past, a shift in the festive season had resulted in a reduction of 1% to 5% of the overall passengers.
“During festive seasons, passenger traffic is generally driven by the domestic sector. The strong growth in the international passengers cushioned the impact from the reduction in domestic passengers,” MAHB added.
As such, both foreign international airlines and local carriers contributed to the overall positive traffic performance.
The Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) handled 5.1 million passengers in the first month of this year, a 4.8% rise compared to a year ago.
Its international passengers grew 8.1% while domestic traf- fic declined 4.1%. The Asean sector passengers increased 8% and the non-Asean sector expanded 8.2%.
The passenger traffic at the KLIA Main Terminal declined 2.7% year-on-year (YoY) with 2.3 million passengers, while traffic at KLIA2 grew 12% to 2.8 million travellers.
For the 12-month period, KLIA Main Terminal recorded 28.2 million passengers — an increase of 7.7% while KLIA2 recorded 30.6 million, equivalent to a 12.8% rise over the corresponding period in 2017.
Overall aircraft movements at KLIA increased 7.2% YoY in January 2018 as international aircraft movements grew12.9% but domestic flights fell 4.3%.
MAHB said the South Asian, North-East Asian, South-East Asian and the Middle Eastern sectors registered double-digit growth in passenger movements.
In addition, the four regional international airports including Penang, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching and Langkawi recorded double-digit growth for international passengers with new airlines commencing operations at the regional airports including Tiger Airways and Batik Air.
There were also several new routes introduced by Malindo Air, Xiamen Airlines, AirAsia, China Southern Airlines, AirAsia Indonesia and AirAsia X Indonesia.
MAHB added that the domestic passenger growth was mainly contributed by AirAsia Group.
However, Subang, Kota Baru, Labuan, Ipoh and Kuantan airports experienced a decline in traffic in January 2018, due to a reduction in capacity by Malaysia Airlines Bhd and Malindo Air.
Meanwhile, MAHB said the Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport’s (SGIA) passenger traffic growth is encouraging with a 25.3% YoY rise to 2.7 million, a reversal from the 4.5% decline in January 2017.
Istanbul SGIA’s international and domestic traffic grew 21.7% and 27% respectively.
Its total aircraft movements increased 11.7% as international aircraft grew 5.1% while the domestic sector rose 15.7%.
“The positive trend is expected to continue,” MAHB concluded.