MAVCOM expects passenger traffic to fall by up to 50.3 pct in 2020


PASSENGER traffic is expected to decrease between 48.7 per cent and 50.3 per cent year-on-year (YoY) to between 54.3 million and 56.0 million passengers this year, said the Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM).

This was lower than the commission’s earlier projection in March of between 36.2 per cent and 38.1 per cent YoY as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the seventh edition of its Industry Report, Waypoint unveiled today, MAVCOM said 19.6 million passengers were recorded in the first five months of 2020, which reflected a drop of 55.2 per cent YoY in passenger traffic.

“The decline in passenger traffic was largely attributable to the travel restrictions imposed as part of measures taken by countries worldwide to contain the spread of COVID-19.

“This includes the implementation of the nationwide Movement Control Order in Malaysia effective March 18, 2020,” the commission said.

MAVCOM has estimated a cancellation of 35.2 per cent in domestic seats and 42.9 per cent in international seats scheduled for 2020, equivalent to a total of 44.8 million seats.

As of early June 2020, a total of 38.8 million seats had already been cancelled by local and foreign carriers, higher than the commission’s previous estimate of 31.0 million seat cancellations in 2020.

MAVCOM executive chairman Datuk Seri Saripuddin Kassim said the impact of COVID-19 on the aviation industry has been extremely severe, and with no comparable precedent, the rate of recovery for the industry will be difficult to predict.

However, the current relaxation of movement restrictions within the country should facilitate faster recovery for the domestic market, he said.

“Immigration controls and quarantine measures in Malaysia and elsewhere, alongside passenger willingness to travel by air during this period, will also influence how quickly the overall industry will return to pre-COVID-19 levels,” he said.

MAVCOM said the revenue-at-risk for 2020 by Malaysian and foreign carriers is estimated at RM11.3 billion and RM4.6 billion, higher than the previous estimation of RM6.8 billion and RM5.0 billion, respectively.

This collectively represents 51.1 per cent of the estimated total airfare revenue in 2019.