2021 air passenger traffic to contract up to 29%, says MAVCOM


GIVEN the recent resurgence of COVID-19 cases in Malaysia and globally, Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) has revised its passenger traffic forecast and expects a contraction of between 22.9% and 29.1% year-on-year which translates to 18.9 to 20.6 million passengers.

The commission in its December 2020 edition industry report Waypoint said the first quarter of 2021 saw only 1.7 million passengers utilising air services, a 91.1% YoY decline from 19.1 million passengers in 1Q2020, which could signal significantly lower passenger traffic numbers for the rest of the year.

“Given the reimplementation of the Movement Control Order(MCO) and with travel restrictions expected to potentially be enforced throughout 2021, demand for air travel is expected to be impacted,” said MAVCOM.

MAVCOM’s forecast also took into consideration the expected lower load factor and seat capacity for the year.

“Given that the domestic market contributed significantly to the sector in the second half of 2020, MAVCOM expects the domestic market to continue being the key driver in reviving the industry with a view that the travel bubble between the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) states remain,

“However, this forecast is premised on the prevailing conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic,”it added.

“The Commission’s downward revision of passenger traffic for 2021, brings to the fore, the clearly difficult task of weighing the underlying challenges faced by the industry.

“The vaccine rollout timeline, implementation of stricter or eased public health measures, safe reopening of international borders for air travel as well

as changes in air travel demand will continue to influence the sector’s speed of recovery,” said Executive Chairman of MAVCOM Datuk Seri Saripuddin Kasim.

The aviation industry is expected to continue weathering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as uncertainties loom over the industry’s path to recovery.

He added Malaysia is still studying the implementation of an internationally recognised digital health pass, such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Travel Pass, which informs passengers on tests, vaccines as well as other measures they would need to look into prior to travelling.

The pass also provides travellers the ability to share their test and vaccination results in a secure manner. The doption of the IATA Travel Pass is expected to facilitate post-COVID-19 travel and spur international passenger movement.