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Newsroom / News Releases / Revival of Malaysia’s Aviation Industry: Air Passenger Traffic Up 123.6% YoY in 1Q23

Revival of Malaysia’s Aviation Industry: Air Passenger Traffic Up 123.6% YoY in 1Q23

19 Jun 2023


KUALA LUMPUR, 19 June 2023 – The Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) today released the 13th edition of its bi-annual Industry Report, Waypoint, which underscores a vibrant recovery in the Malaysian aviation sector for the first quarter of 2023 (1Q23).

In the latest Waypoint, MAVCOM highlights a strong growth of 123.6 per cent year-on-year (YoY) in passenger traffic, translating to 19.4 million passengers for 1Q23. Following the full reopening of international borders, international passenger traffic has grown at an average of 80.9 per cent quarter-on-quarter (QoQ). The approved international Air Traffic Rights (ATRs) also demonstrated a notable YoY increase of 246.1 per cent, underscoring the steady revival of the international market. Total passenger traffic stood at 73.0 per cent of the 2019 level.

MAVCOM maintains its December 2022 air passenger traffic forecast. The Commission expects air passenger traffic to rise between 40 per cent and 52 per cent YoY in 2023, reaching between 74.6 million and 80.8 million passengers.

The first quarter of 2023 also saw a decline in cargo performance. Total Freight Tonne Kilometre (FTK) reduced by 11.0 per cent YoY to 4,666 million, marking the second declining quarter in a row. This reduction is in line with Malaysia’s trading performance during the quarter, due to several factors, including a slowdown in the global economy, a continued shift in consumer spending from products to services, and a downcycle in the Electrical & Electronics (E&E) industry.

Air cargo traffic is forecasted to grow between 3.0 per cent and 4.8 per cent YoY in 2023. Given the challenging cargo performance in 1Q23, MAVCOM predicts the 2023 cargo traffic to hover near the lower end of the forecast, suggesting much slower growth.

The Executive Chairman of MAVCOM, Datuk Seri Hj. Saripuddin Hj. Kasim said, “Despite the downturn in cargo traffic in 1Q23, the remarkable surge in passenger traffic paints a compelling picture of the resilience inherent in our aviation industry. This remarkable performance not only demonstrates our ability to rebound but also provides a solid foundation for continued growth in the sector throughout 2023.”

Reflecting a vibrant recovery in the aviation industry, Malaysia’s air connectivity ranking improved to fifth in ASEAN, overtaking the Philippines, with a connectivity score of 61.0 in 2022. This improvement can be attributed to the higher deployment of international seats to destinations with a higher weightage following the lifting of border restrictions in the third quarter of 2022. KL International Airport, Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 (KUL) maintains its position as the fourth-most connected airport in ASEAN.

MAVCOM’s Waypoint report also notes that the Revenue per Available Seat Kilometre-Cost per Available Seat Kilometre (RASK-CASK) spread has stabilised to 1.6 sen in the fourth quarter of 2022.

“The Commission looks forward to continue supporting the industry and its players, particularly through our various industry-focused initiatives, such as the Waypoint Report. It will continue to be a crucial tool for stakeholders in the Malaysian aviation industry, not only in guiding informed decision-making but also in fostering a resilient and consumer-oriented aviation sector, key to the nation’s wider economic growth,” concluded Datuk Seri Hj. Saripuddin.

The Waypoint Report is released biannually, and more information can be found here.