Last Updated on Thursday, 3 August, 2023 at 10:27 am by Andre Camilleri
Malta International Airport is forecasting around 7.2 million passengers to pass through the terminal in 2023, which would be almost a return to the record 2019 year when 7.3 million passengers has used MIA before Covid-19 struck, the company said Tuesday.
Traffic for the first half of the year amounted to 3.43 million passengers, surpassing 2019 highs by 5.6% and putting Malta International Airport among a group of European airports (48%) whose mid-year passenger volumes exceeded pre-pandemic traffic. In parallel, the airport registered buoyant monthly seat load factors (SLF) that peaked in June at 86% and outperformed both 2022 and 2019 levels.
These results indicate that the appetite for travel to the Maltese Islands has not waned despite challenging macroeconomics, Malta International Airport CEO, Alan Borg said. However, referring to a travel sentiment survey published in July by the European Travel Commission (ETC), Borg noted that inflation and rising airfares are expected to start dragging down demand for travel in Europe.
Twenty-four per cent of the travellers who made use of the airport were from Italy, the highest portion of all passenger traffic.
UK passengers held the second-highest market share, although this share has dropped by 20% since 2019.
The biggest-growing markets are that of France and Poland, which increased by 51% and 55% respectively.
Ryanair has 47% share of the market, a growth of 25% since 2019. Air Malta holds the second-largest share at 26%.
“We are extremely satisfied with our mid-year performance, yet we cannot let our guard down if we are to maintain our momentum against expected headwinds. To this end, we remain committed to working with the Malta Tourism Authority on securing more connections for our islands, particularly since, until now, the recovery of our connectivity continues to lag behind that of passenger volumes,” Borg said, going on to thank the airport team and all stakeholders for their contribution to what has been an exceptional first half.
Works are taking place on the Apron X project, with Phase 1 of the €40 million project set to finish by summer next year when the first three parking stands are expected to be in operation.
The airport’s second runway, RWY 23-05 will be getting a €14 million overhaul with works expected to start towards the end of this year.
When this is completed, work on the airport’s main runway, the RWY 31-13, will start. These works will include resurfacing and lighting replacements
The terminal is also set to be expanded in the coming months, with work expected to last until the end of next year.
In a statement on the Stock Exchange, the company said that the Group’s revenue for the period under review – January and June 2023 – registered an increase of 43.8% over 2022 to total €53.6 million.
This growth was mainly driven by a record first half, during which traffic surpassed 2019 highs by 5.6% and totalled 3.43 million passengers. While 67.9% of the total revenue stemmed from aviation-related activities, the retail and property segment generated 31.4% of this total in line with the company’s revenue diversification strategy.
Both segments registered growth over the previous year, with aviation revenues outperforming 2022 levels by 49.1% and retail and property revenues growing by 31.8%.
Having taken into consideration the solid financial and traffic results for the first half as well as its expectations for the winter season, Malta International Airport has updated the guidance issued in January 2023. By the end of the year, the company expects to have hosted 7.2 million passengers and generated revenues amounting to €113 million, the notice said.
Malta Tourism Authority Chief Executive Officer, Carlo Micallef, also expressed his satisfaction with how Malta International Airport’s mid-year traffic performance had translated into record results in tourism numbers.
He observed that, although capacity from Malta’s source markets has yet to fully recover, the Malta Tourism Authority’s extensive marketing together with destination appeal are leading to higher aircraft utilisation to grow tourism numbers. However, like Mr Borg, Mr Micallef noted that a lot remains to be done to maximise Malta’s connectivity opportunities.
Having considered its solid traffic performance and expectations for the winter season, the company announced the payment of an interim dividend of €0.03c per share to its shareholders.