by SHAFIQQUL ALIFF / pic by TMR FILE
THE Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) forecasts an increase of air traffic passengers between 316% to 525% year-on-year (YoY) for Financial Year 2022 (FY22) or between 32.6 million and 49 million air travel passengers, marking a 30% to 45% recovery from the pre-pandemic air passenger traffic levels in 2019.
Additionally, it also stated that airlines are expected to gradually expand seat capacity as pent-up travel demand and accrued savings drive passenger traffic growth in 2022.
The regulator said in the Waypoint Report released yesterday that the industry has shown early signs of recovery in September and October 2021 as evident from the 56.6% and 190.2% month-on-month (MoM) growth in air passenger traffic, respectively.
It stated that air passenger traffic for both months stood at 5.3% and 14.9% of the air passenger traffic recorded in the same months of 2019.
Furthermore, total air passenger traffic for FY21 is expected to be closer to Mavcom’s best-case scenario forecast of 6.9 million to 7.8million of air travel passengers.
The regulator chairman Datuk Seri Saripuddin Kasim (picture) said the easing of travel restrictions, travel bubbles, the reopening of international borders in light of Malaysia’s rapid vaccination rollout, as well as the recent vaccinated travel lane to Singapore contribute to this improvement.
He said these initiatives have allowed for tourism activities to restart with early indications pointing towards a positive outlook for Malaysia’s air passenger traffic in 2022.
“The Malaysian aviation sector’s journey to full recovery is still far from over and it may still face significant challenges ahead with the rise in Brent crude oil and jet fuel prices that could impact operational costs, as well as possible outbreaks of new Covid-19 variants, including the fast-spreading Omicron variant.
“However, we remain hopeful that the industry will continue to make progress, particularly as the Malaysian government considers reopening mutual borders with several countries,” he said in a statement.
“The Langkawi domestic travel bubble, which commenced on Sept 16 this year, saw a significant increase of domestic air passengers in September and October 2021 by 2,411% MoM and 261.4% MoM, respectively.
“With the recent easing of border restrictions for international travellers is expected to further support this growth in air passenger traffic,” he added.
Saripuddin hopes that the air cargo will remain vital to the industry for the remainder of 2021 and in 2022, as the demand remains resilient. Malaysia’s air cargo volume recorded a robust growth of 19.7% YoY in the third quarter 2021 in terms of total Freight Tonne Kilometre (FTK).
“The air cargo traffic is forecasted to grow by between 3.9% and 6.7% YoY for 2022, translating into 20.8 billion to 21.6 billion FTK, backed by the progress of vaccination programmes, strong growth of e-commerce, electrical and electronics, as well as demand from Malaysia’s main trading partners,” he said.