PETALING JAYA: Air passenger traffic expanded substantially in April, statistics released by Malaysian Aviation Commission today showed.

Air passenger traffic last month reached 7.9 million persons, marking a strong 19.5% year-on-year (y-o-y) increase from April 2023 and an 8% month-on-month (m-o-m) jump from March. The growth was largely driven by domestic air travel, particularly seasonal travel during the Hari Raya Aidilfitri holiday period, with 3.9 million passengers recorded, reflecting a 14.9% increase from March. Domestic traffic accounted for 49.8% of the total passenger traffic in April.

International traffic experienced a moderate increase of 1.9% m-o-m to 4.0 million passengers. Notably, passengers travelling to and from the Asean region increased by 4.4% m-o-m to 2.1 million, while non-Asean international traffic experienced a slight decrease of 0.7% m-o-m to 1.9 million passengers. Overall, international traffic represented 50.2% of the total passenger traffic in April.

Total air passenger traffic in April this year achieved 86.3% of the pre-pandemic levels of April 2019. International air passenger traffic led the recovery at 88.1% of April 2019 levels. Domestic air passenger traffic also exhibited resilience, achieving 84.5% of the traffic seen in April 2019.

The cumulative air passenger traffic from January to April 2024 reached 30.5 million, a 17% increase from 26.1 million passengers recorded over the same period in 2023. This growth was predominantly fuelled by a 39.4% increase in international air passenger traffic, which stood at 15.8 million, up from 11.4 million in the first four months of 2023, reflecting the industry’s recovery momentum and the restoration of international routes and frequencies. Domestic traffic slightly decreased by 0.4% y-o-y to 14.7 million.

Enhanced international connectivity can be observed from the data, with airlines focusing their attention and resources on recovering international routes and frequencies, mirroring pre-Covid trends. Travel demand among consumers also reflects this trend. Overall, domestic and international passenger traffic accounted for 48.1% and 51.9% respectively, of the total traffic between January and April 2024.

Mavcom executive chairman Datuk Seri Saripuddin Kasim stated, “The April 2024 air traffic figures indicate the ongoing recovery in the aviation sector. The resurgence of international traffic is a positive sign for the overall health of the global travel and tourism sectors, indicating that consumer confidence in air travel remains robust. We anticipate further acceleration in international travel, particularly with the 30-day visa exemptions for tourists from China and India.”

He added that Mavcom remains committed to supporting the aviation industry's recovery, ensuring high standards of airport service quality (QoS), and safeguarding consumer rights.

“We have recently advanced the Airports QoS Framework at KL International Airport Terminals 1 and 2 to monitor queuing times and improve passenger experience. The aviation sector continues to play a pivotal role in connecting people and driving economic sustainability,” Saripuddin said.