MAHB passenger movements decline in February over Covid-19

The impact in passenger traffic was felt as soon as China imposed a lockdown in several of its provinces and WHO declared a public health emergency

by FARA AISYAH/ pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

MALAYSIA Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) posted a 16.7% year-on-year (YoY) decline in passenger movements in February 2020 to 8.87 million travellers, compared to 10.66 million in the same month last year.

Malaysia’s overall passenger movements registered 6.24 million travellers, 23.4% lower from 8.15 million travellers in February 2019.

However, the Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport recorded 2.63 million passenger movements, a 4.9% growth against 2.51 million in the same month last year.

MAHB said February 2020 passenger performance was affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.

“The impact in passenger traffic was felt as soon as China imposed a lockdown in several of the country’s provinces and the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a public health emergency of international concern.

“This led to airlines announcing temporary flight suspensions, flight cancellations and travel restrictions imposed by certain countries,” the group said in a statement.

It added that there was a reduction of 1,380 flight movements compared to February 2019 for the international sector.

On a weekly basis, 2,935 fewer flight movements for both the international and domestic sectors were recorded in the last week of February compared to January 2020.

MAHB said most of the regions registered a double-digit decline in passenger movements except for the Middle East and South Asia regions, which registered a marginal growth for February 2020.

Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), KLIA2 and the other 38 Malaysian airports recorded a total of 2.95 million international passengers compared to 4.19 million in February 2019.

Their domestic travellers also fell from 3.96 million passengers in February last year to 3.3 million in February 2020.

KLIA passenger movements declined by 20.2% YoY to 1.77 million travellers in February 2020, from 2.23 million in the same month last year.

The main terminal international travellers fell 22% to 1.4 million passengers compared to 1.8 million in February 2019.

KLIA’s domestic passenger movements dropped 12.8% YoY to about 375,000 travellers from 430,000 in February 2019.

Meanwhile, KLIA2 passenger movements decreased 27.7% YoY to 1.87 million from 2.59 travellers in February 2019.

Its international passengers lowered to 1.19 million travellers, from 1.68 million in the second month of 2019.

KLIA2 domestic travellers tumbled 24.1% YoY to 687,000 passengers from 906,000 in February 2019.

MAHB said a similar scenario was observed during the SARS outbreak in 2003, where there was a sharp decline in traffic on the first month of impact which continued to peak for the following two months.

“The decline in traffic due to the SARS outbreak continued for several months and eventually picked up when the decline in infected cases reduced and travel confidence resumed,” it said.

MAHB added that despite the outbreak, airlines are trying to fill up seats by offering attractive low fare packages to attract travellers.