Mavcom sees passenger traffic rebounding over 100pc in 2021

A man wearing a face mask is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang March 18, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
A man wearing a face mask is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang March 18, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 — The Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) expects passenger traffic to rebound in 2021 by between 94.2 per cent and 100.3 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y), which translates to 51.7 to 53.3 million passengers.

In a statement today, the commission said it expected the airlines to gradually expand seat capacity as international travel restrictions are presumably lifted in 2021.

“This forecast, however, relies chiefly on performance of the industry which is dependent on a range on external factors including the pathway of the Covid-19 pandemic, public health measures, as well as consumer behaviour,” it said.

This year, for the base case scenario, Mavcom has revised downwards its 2020 passenger traffic forecast to contract by between 72.8 per cent and 75.7 per cent y-o-y to between 26.6 million and 29.7 million passengers.

It said local passenger traffic dropped to its lowest in the Malaysian aviation history, recording only 802,525 passengers in the second quarter of 2020 (Q2 2020), down 97.0 per cent y-o-y, from 26.7 million passengers recorded in Q2 2019.

“This decline was largely attributed to the lower load factor and a longer period of seat capacity recovery by airlines as they continued to cut seat capacity,” it said. 

However, Mavcom noted that passenger traffic recovered slightly in Q3 2020, demonstrating a smaller decline of 83.3 per cent, attributed to the easing of domestic travel restrictions.

Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and klia2 connectivity ranked sixth place in Asean, dropping from third place last year due to 95.8 per cent y-o-y reduction on international seats from the capital city, which recorded one of the largest reductions among major airports in Asean due to the pandemic.

Given the ongoing uncertainties, Mavcom executive chairman Datuk Seri Saripuddin Kasim said a few potential events involving the five local airlines that may transpire in the future had been identified while the potential effect to air connectivity had been analysed.

“Although the sector’s outlook is largely dependent on the pace of recovery from Covid-19 locally, regionally and globally, the commission is of the view that the aviation industry will be on a long road to recovery,” he added. — Bernama

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