The Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) on Monday said that it expects the country’s air passenger traffic in 2023 to increase by between 40 per cent and 52 per cent year on year, which means between 74.6 million and 80.8 million passengers.
MAVCOM said in its industry report that it expects the international passenger traffic to experience significant recovery, with routes to key markets gradually being restored beginning the fourth quarter of 2022, reports Xinhua news agency.
According to the Commission, the growth in 2023 will be driven by the gradual restoration of key markets, with domestic airlines carriers, flag carrier Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, AirAsia X, and Batik Air, having made plans to restore capacity and increase frequency in their flights to popular destinations such as Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, and the Middle East.
With more seats scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2022, the total air passenger traffic for Malaysia this year is now estimated to slightly outperform MAVCOM’s best-case scenario forecast — surging 380 per cent to 400 per cent year on year to between 53 million and 55 million passengers.
In the third quarter of 2022, total passenger traffic in Malaysia was 15.6 million, the highest since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020.
Due to the low base effect, the third quarter passenger traffic soared by 1,434.3 per cent year on year. This marked a 55.9 per cent recovery from the same quarter in 2019.
This improvement brings the passenger traffic number in the first 10 months to 42.2 million.
The domestic traffic in the third quarter was equivalent to 71.3 per cent of pre-pandemic levels while international traffic was 38.6 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.
The stark increase in the passenger traffic number was mainly supported by the full reopening of the Malaysian borders to international travellers from April 2022.
MAVCOM Executive Chairman Saripuddin Kasim said the resumption and introduction of new air service routes by local airlines, as well as the relaxation of travel restrictions around the world, have contributed significantly to the recovery of passenger traffic to Malaysia.