KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd’s (MAHB) passenger movements at its network of airports in Malaysia plunged 63.6 per cent year-on-year (YoY) to 3.2 million passengers in March.
Overall, MAHB’s network of airports in Malaysia and Turkey dropped 23.9 per cent to 25.5 million passenger movements in the first-quarter of 2020.
International and domestic passenger movements declined by 27.8 per cent and 20.3 per cent with 11.6 million and 13.9 million passenger movements respectively.
“Total aircraft movements decreased by 11.8 per cent while the international and domestic aircraft movements declined by 16.1 per cent and 8.9 per cent respectively,” MAHB said.
Its Malaysian airports registered a decline of 27.6 per cent with 18.4 million passenger movements. International and domestic passenger movements decreased 32.4 per cent and 22.4 per cent respectively.
“Moving forward, the traffic recovery would depend on the speed and extent at which Covid-19 spread is brought under control at the domestic level as well internationally.
“While China seems to be recovering, the international flights to Malaysia would only resume if the contagion level in Malaysia is at a level that would encourage cross border travel,” said MAHB in a filing to Bursa Malaysia on Friday.
The airport operator said its overall passenger traffic had been affected by Covid-19 and the travel restrictions imposed since March.
“Airports in Malaysia registered decreasing passenger movements from the end of January 2020 and the rate of decline significantly increased from March 18, 2020 corresponding to the Movement Control Order (MCO) announced by the government that restricted both Malaysians and foreigners from travelling to and from Malaysia,” it added.
MAHB said there was a small number of Malaysian passenger arrivals from repatriation flights at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) before continuing to travel domestically via KLIA.
“International and domestic sector recorded 1.3 million and 2.0 million passenger movements with a decline of 71.8 per cent and 55.3 per cent over March 2019 respectively.
“International passenger movements for Asean and non-Asean sectors declined by 70.0 per cent and 73.6 per cent, to 0.7 million passengers and 0.6 million passengers respectively. Overall aircraft movements declined by 43.4 per cent,” it added.
International and domestic aircraft movements declined 52.3 per cent and 37.7 per cent respectively over March 2019, while average load factor for overall traffic declined by 21.8 percentage points to 54.1 in March 2020.
Similarly, MAHB’s Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (SGIA) passenger movements experienced a decline in passengers following the suspension of flights imposed to certain countries in stages and later to all international destinations announced by the government of Turkey from March 27.
It said SGIA airport was closed for operations from March 28 to April 30.
SGIA passenger movements declined 46.1 per cent to 1.5 million in March 2020.
Overall, MAHB’s network of airports registered a 59.4 per cent decline in passengers to 4.8 million passengers in March.
“International and domestic passenger movements registered 1.7 million and 3.0 million passenger movements with a decline of 68.9 per cent and 50.8 per cent, respectively.”
Overall aircraft movements declined by 42.4 per cent with international and domestic movements registering a decrease of 52.1 per cent and 36.1 per cent respectively.
MAHB said the prime initiator of air travel would be the level of control of the Covid-19.
“We begun proactively executing group-wide optimisation plan to ensure we are able to meet our financial and operational obligations.”
This included reviewing operational efficiencies, rebasing cost, prioritising capital expenditure and conserving cash to safeguard its financial resilience while ensuring business continuity under difficult conditions.