Passenger Numbers through Malta Airport drop just 4.4% in Winter
• Traffic registered a drop of 64.5 per cent last month when compared to March 2019
• The ban of inbound commercial flights from 21 March led an already negative trend in passenger numbers to deteriorate further
• Short-term outlook remains very challenging as airport continues to operate solely to facilitate essential flights
Passenger movements through Malta International Airport registered a drop of 64.5 per cent last month when compared to March 2019.
This drop in traffic was largely the result of the COVID-19 outbreak in Europe, which led to mounting travel restrictions – locally culminating in the ban of all inbound commercial flights from 21 March 2020 – and the introduction of more stringent measures aimed at containing its spread.
These restrictions also led to decreases of 46.6 per cent in aircraft movements and 48.1 per cent in seat capacity. Moreover, a dwindling demand for travel caused seat load factor (SLF) for the month to tumble to 55.6 per cent from a healthy 81.3 per cent registered in March 2019.
Travel bans announced in the second week of March directly impacted four of Malta International Airport’s top five markets – Germany (-75.4 per cent), Italy (-87.4 per cent), France (-62.4 per cent), and Spain (-63.6 per cent), with each one of these top drivers of traffic suffering unprecedented drops in passenger numbers. Malta International Airport’s topmost market – the United Kingdom – experienced a 53.5 per cent decline in passenger numbers.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has presented us with extraordinary circumstances, and we are doing our utmost to make the best use of our resources and adapt. At around this time, we would usually be preparing for the busy summer months ahead but, this year, we are focusing on getting through these times as Malta Airport remains open solely to facilitate essential flights.
I would like to thank airport employees, especially frontliners, who have continued to carry out their duties in order for us to be able to provide the support needed in repatriating people and receiving important cargo,” said Malta International Airport CEO Mr Alan Borg.
The month of March brought winter to a close for the aviation industry, with Malta International Airport welcoming over 1.9 million passengers during this season, which starts in November.
The strong growth registered in the first four months of winter partly offset the staggering decrease in traffic experienced in March, with Malta International Airport ultimately ending the season with a drop of 4.4 per cent in passenger movements over the previous winter.
Published on: 08.04.2020