PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) has reported an improvement in June traffic movements, indicating revival in air travel in both Malaysia and Turkey, following the relaxation of restrictions announced earlier in the month.

MAHB’s network of airports (including Istanbul SGIA) recorded close to 1 million passenger movements last mont, a decline of 92.1% over that in June 2019. International and domestic passenger movements were 110,000 and 844,000 respectively.

“June traffic movements indicate a reopening phase of air travel for both Malaysian and Istanbul SGIA markets, corresponding to the relaxation of travel restrictions announced in early June,” it said.

The gradual increase in passenger movements in Malaysia was driven mostly by the domestic sector while Istanbul SGIA’s was driven by domestic and international sectors, said MAHB.

MAHB’s airports in Malaysia registered 429,000 passengers in June 2020, a decline of 95.2% year on year over June 2019, with international and domestic sectors recording 48,000 and 381,000 passenger movements respectively.

KLIA recorded 140,000 passenger movements in June. KLIA Main Terminal and klia2 recorded 66,000 and 74,000 passengers respectively.

Overall aircraft movements at KLIA shrank by 91.1% compared with June last year.

Passenger movements at MASB airports (domestic airports besides KLIA and klia2) declined by 92.3% year on year with 289,000 passenger movements in June 2019, while international and domestic aircraft movements declined by 87% and 76.8% respectively over June 2019.

Istanbul SGIA’s total passenger movements contracted 83.2% in June 2020 with slightly over half a million passengers recorded. International and domestic passenger movements contracted by 94.9% and 75.7% over June 2019.

“The international movements performance for Istanbul SGIA, however, was modest compared to domestic movements as the international flights movements to a large degree depends on reciprocal arrangements between countries and their willingness to open border with Turkey,” MAHB said in its stock exchange filing.

For the first half of the year, MAHB’s network of airports (including Istanbul SGIA) recorded 26.9 million passengers, a decline of 60.6% over that in the first six months of 2019.

International and domestic passenger movements declined by 63.5% and 57.8% respectively. Overall aircraft movements declined by 50.2% from first-half 2019’s numbers.

Looking ahead, MAHB said traffic recovery and return to travel are largely propelled by people’s confidence to start travelling and access to connectivity.

It added that it has continuously taken measures to ensure the safety and health of travellers while adhering to the Standard Operating Procedures set out by the National Disaster Management Agency and the Ministry of Health and guidelines recommended by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Airports Council International (ACI).

IATA, ACI and ICAO collectively project 2020 global traffic to be in the range of -48% to -62%, mostly due to travel bans and restrictions imposed to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) has revised Malaysian air traffic for 2020 to the range of -48.7% and -50.3%.

“While Malaysia and Istanbul SGIA June traffic performances are encouraging, post lockdown demand for air travel is expected to be in stages with domestic sector leading the recovery.

“Resumption of international traffic is expected to be gradual mostly due to dependence on travel bubbles arrangements and a slower easing of border restriction as countries remain cautious,” it said.

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