5.8 million passengers expected to pass through MIA by end of year
- Revised forecast indicates that circa 5.8 million passengers will be welcomed at MIA in 2017
- Passenger movements grow by 20 per cent in the first six months of the year
- Investment schedule on track: 16 million euro will be spent on airport upgrades this year
Malta International Airport’s revised projections indicate that circa 5.8 million passengers are expected to pass through the terminal by the end of the year, adding to Malta Airport traffic records.
In the first half of the year, Malta International Airport had already registered 2,639,712 passenger movements, amounting to an increase of 20 per cent over the same period in 2016.
This solid six-month performance encouraged the company to revise its original forecast announced in January, while taking into account the growth rate reached so far, traffic developments for the winter season, and trends observed in the aviation industry.
MIA CEO Alan Borg presented this forecast at a press conference, noting that while passenger numbers have recently been experiencing an increase across all months, Malta International Airport will be persisting in its efforts to ascertain that the upcoming winter season maintains the momentum gained thus far.
“Considering that we celebrated our 5 millionth passenger milestone only last December, closing off this year with 5.8 million passenger movements would constitute the biggest all-time leap – of over 750,000 passengers – in annual traffic. This is the result of enhanced connectivity and increased capacity; two priorities that, together with our stakeholders, we continuously strive to improve,” said Mr Borg.
Detailed traffic results for the first half of 2017 revealed that June was the third consecutive month to register over half a million passenger movements. The growth experienced in the first six months was bolstered by an upturn of 15 per cent in aircraft movements and 19 per cent in seat capacity.
Despite the increase in seat capacity, with over 3 million seats available on flights operated to Malta International Airport in the first six months, a healthy seat load factor (SLF) was maintained, which stood at 80.4 per cent.
Looking ahead, important developments for winter 2017-18 include the introduction of four new winter routes operated by Ryanair and EasyJet, and the extension of a number of routes from summer into winter by Air Malta, Wizz Air and Aegean Airlines. In addition to this, increased flight frequencies during the upcoming season will also be offered by SAS, Lufthansa, Vueling, and Jet2.
Minister for Tourism Konrad Mizzi welcomed the significant increase in passengers passing through the airport, whilst noting that the efforts made by Malta International Airport, the Malta Tourism Authority, various airlines and key stakeholders have resulted in improved flight connectivity and an increase in seat capacity. Minister Mizzi added that the government is committed to working with its partners to increase the frequency of existing flights and to open up new routes for tourists, Maltese travellers and business executives.
On his part, Malta Tourism Authority CEO Mr Paul Bugeja said, “The increase in aircraft and passenger movements registered by MIA in the first half of the year is indicative of a positive trend that has gathered momentum in recent months, especially in the winter period. Malta’s performance in the tourism sector is very much dependent on the availability of frequent airline services from a diverse choice of departure points all year round; an objective that we have worked towards achieving with all stakeholders, but in particular with MIA. It is our intention to continue improving connectivity and making Malta a year-round destination.”
By the end of the year, the airport will have invested 16 million euro in its infrastructure, with the heftiest injection being in the terminal reconfiguration project. Completed project milestones include the opening of a new La Valette lounge, a reconceived observation deck, and the security screening area relocation. Upon conclusion of the project’s first phase, the terminal will also be furnished with 8 additional check-in desks and a new baggage handling system (BHS).
Finally, Mr Borg also presented the company’s financial targets for the year:
Total Revenue is expected to reach over 79 million euro
EBITDA is expected to reach over 45 million euro
Net Profit is projected to reach over 23 million euro
Capital Investments are estimated at 16 million euro
Annual taxes and dividend contributions to the government are expected to be in the region of 16 million euro.