MIA forecasting 5.2 million passengers in 2017
- Airport forecasts passenger numbers will increase to 5.2 million in 2017
- 10 per cent growth in 2016 with shoulder months registering noteworthy increase of 14 per cent over previous year
- Three new routes – Bordeaux, Cluj-Napoca & Katowice – for summer 2017 revealed
During its yearly traffic results press conference, Malta International Airport announced its forecast for 2017, with traffic expected to reach 5.2 million passenger movements by the end of the year.
2016 ended on a positive note at the airport, with the Company reaching an important 5 million passenger milestone in December and exceeding expectations, closing the year having welcomed 5,080,071 passengers.
Traffic at Malta International Airport grew by a noteworthy 10 per cent over the previous year, on the back of a 4.5 per cent growth in aircraft movements and a 7.6 per cent increase in seat capacity. Standing at 83.3 per cent, seat load factor (SLF) for 2016 climbed up by 1.82 percentage points over the previous year, signalling a marked efficiency by airlines to fill up available seats.
MIA CEO Alan Borg said; “With the phenomenal growth experienced last year, and a new milestone under our belt, we share this success with all our airport stakeholders and employees who have worked so hard to make this happen. Looking forward, we must not underestimate the responsibility these numbers bring with them and while 2017’s prospects are positive, we must retain our focus on three priorities: service excellence, sustainability and investment”
Mr Borg went on to add that, the upward trend in passenger traffic is testament to the collaborated effort with the Malta Tourism Authority and the Ministry for Tourism in developing a strategy that ensures that Malta continues to be a destination that is sought by tourists all year round.
A monthly break-down of passenger numbers for 2016, in fact, highlights that the airport succeeded in hosting more guests during its shoulder months than the previous year, with November and December registering the highest spikes in passenger numbers of 22.4 per cent and 32.2 per cent, respectively. Featuring 18 new connections and increased flight frequencies, Malta International Airport’s present winter schedule offers the most connections yet for this period and is expected to contribute to further growth in the shoulder months.
The top markets for 2016 were the United Kingdom, which saw an increase of 5.4 per cent, Italy, which grew by 15 per cent, Germany which grew by 8.0 per cent, France, registering a growth of 5.5 per cent, and Spain, which registered a growth of 26.7 per cent.
During the press conference, the airport also revealed three new routes for summer 2017, namely Bordeaux operated by Volotea and Cluj Napoca and Katowice operated by Wizzair. Other interesting developments for the summer months include new airline Eurowings launching operations from Vienna next April and the first Malta to Malta Cruise and Fly service by P&O.
Mr Borg also highlighted that works on the Terminal Reconfiguration project are now in full swing, and will stretch into the forthcoming year. On completion, the terminal will be furnished with additional check-in desks, a security area that is double its current footprint, and a new Observation Deck and La Valette Lounge on Level 3.
While expressing satisfaction at the pace picked up by the works, Mr Alan Borg said that the project is a very important part of the airport’s constant efforts to provide guests with an enhanced journey that lives up to the Company’s vision of offering the best airport experience in Europe.
Finally, Mr Borg thanked all of the airport team and urged everyone to look ahead towards a common goal: that of making 2017 an even better year on all fronts, in spite of the additional challenges that will inevitably be posed by ongoing terminal works.
Minister for Tourism, the Hon. Dr Edward Zammit Lewis noted: “The record-breaking figures in passenger movements registered last year certify, and are aligned with, the success we are currently achieving within the tourism sector. Air connectivity remains a critical component for tourism growth, especially during the winter season which offers great potential that we are determined to exploit, not only in terms of numbers but also in line with our stated objective to attract further quality tourism. We are totally committed, in collaboration with all stakeholders, to continue enhancing our connectivity during this year and beyond, to attain the target of registering two million inbound tourists by the end of this year.”
Commenting on the positive results achieved, Malta Tourism Authority CEO Mr Paul Bugeja said: “The fact that 2016 has been another record breaker for Malta is due to many factors, foremost amongst them being the ongoing efforts of many, both in the public and private sector, who together make all of this possible. The cooperation between MTA and MIA in the area of route development and increased connectivity has gone from strength to strength and is bearing the desired fruit. Meanwhile, MTA’s strategy aimed at market diversification and the elimination of seasonality is attaining an encouraging level of success, as we look forward to an even better 2017.