by NUR HANANI AZMAN / pic by RAZAK GHAZALI
MALAYSIA Airports Holdings Bhd’s (MAHB) network of airports, including Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (SGIA) in Istanbul, Turkey, recorded 43 million passenger movements in 2020, a contraction of 69.6% against 2019.
According to MAHB, international and domestic passenger movements contracted by 78% and 61.8% respectively to 14.8 million and 28.1 million passengers year-on-year (YoY).
“Overall aircraft movements declined by 58.1%, with international and domestic aircraft movements contracting by 68.7% and 51% respectively compared to 2019.
“On the home front, passenger movements in Malaysia saw a decline of 75.5% against 2019 with 25.8 million passenger movements,” it said in a filing to Bursa Malaysia yesterday.
International and domestic sectors recorded 9.5 million and 16.3 million passenger movements respectively, a decline of 82.2% and 68.7% YoY.
The Reciprocal Green Lane arrangement between Malaysia and Singapore allowing essential travels between the two countries beginning Aug 17, 2020, registered between 20% and 35% month-on-month passenger growth from September to December 2020.
Overall aircraft movements in Malaysia declined 61% in 2020. International and domestic aircraft movements declined by 71.7% and 54.1% respectively.
Overall average load factor in 2020 was down by 16.6 percentage points from the year before, with load factors in 2020 at 58.4%.
On cargo operations, cargo aircraft movements recorded a 46.1% growth in 2020, in line with the increased demand for health and medical supplies despite the reduction in belly cargo space as passenger flights were grounded.
Domestic cargo volume movements recorded a growth of 0.1% over 2019, recording 186,279 metric tonnes in 2020, the only sector that performed above the negative zone for 2020.
Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) passenger movements registered 13.2 million passengers last year, a contraction of 78.9% against 2019.
“International and domestic passenger movements at KLIA contracted by 81.7% and 71.7% respectively.
“Distinctively, KLIA Main Terminal and KLIA2 passenger movements contracted by 79.4% and 78.5% respectively. Meanwhile, Istanbul SGIA passenger movements contracted by 52.1% in 2020 versus 2019 with 17.2 million movements,” the airport operator’s statement noted.
International and domestic passenger movements at SGIA contracted by 62.5% and 45.3% respectively.
Total aircraft movements decreased by 46.7%, with international and domestic aircraft movements decreased by 57.9% and 38.4%.
The several phases of Movement Control Order in Malaysia and closure of international borders in both Malaysia and Turkey from mid-March have grounded almost all flights.
Meanwhile, repatriation, charter and cargo flights continue to operate during the restriction period.
“The first interstate travel restrictions and border closure in Malaysia and Turkey caused passenger movements to decline by 85.3% from March to May.
“The second restriction in movements due to the spike in Covid-19 cases saw passenger movements decline again by 81.2% for October and November after a slight increase in traffic during the relaxed travel period,” it said.
Istanbul SGIA traffic performance showed initial recovery in traffic performance with the uplift of intercity travel and Turkey’s airspace restrictions in June 2020.
December performance for both domestic and international traffic was recorded at 45.6% and 36.8% respectively against 2019 performance level.
In December, Istanbul SGIA provided connections to a total of 59 domestic and 69 international destinations.
On its outlook, MAHB said traffic recovery is expected to be gradual in line with the distribution of vaccines, coupled with the ongoing recovery of the global economy.
“Travel bubble arrangements and short-haul travel are expected to pave the way and give air travel further momentum in 2021,” it concluded.