Malta International Airport CEO Alan Borg says time to remove COVID restrictions as travel picks up

Malta Airport sees 24% rise in traffic over January, with healthy seat-load factor of 70% showing improved demand for travel from UK

Passenger traffic into Malta International Airport registered a sevenfold increase over the same month in 2021, though still remaining 45.2% below pre-pandemic 2019 levels at 196,000.

But MIA has appealed for the removal of remaining travel restrictions, with traffic figures showing signs of demand-driven recovery in tourism.

Over the years, MIA’s traffic for the month of February has been consistently lower or marginally better than January traffic. Last February’s traffic bucked the trend as it registered a significant increase of 24% over January.

“This double-digit growth indicates that the easing of travel restrictions, most of which had been introduced at the end of 2021, unleashed a pent-up demand for air travel,” MIA CEO Alan Borg said.

“Further indicating that this increase was driven by demand rather than improved capacity, is the drop of 3 per cent in February’s seat capacity compared to January’s.”

Standing at a healthy 70.7%, the seat load factor (SLF) for February was just 5.1 per cent lower than 2019 levels.

“Our traffic results for February clearly show that two years into the World Health Organisation’s declaration of a pandemic, people are ready to travel again. At the same time, our industry is facing a spate of new uncertainties and challenges, such as rising oil prices which are likely to push up fares, which are stemming from the war in Ukraine,” Borg said.

“With the summer season now just weeks away, it is imperative that governments heed our industry’s appeal in relation to COVID-19 restrictions. The removal of travel restrictions would not only help boost consumer confidence, but also give industry stakeholders the confidence to invest in their businesses and be optimistic for the future at this very delicate time.”

February saw the United Kingdom claim the top spot in Malta International Airport’s market leader board. From among the most popular five markets, the United Kingdom had the strongest growth rate over February 2021. Back then, stringent travel restrictions between the two countries had limited traffic from this market to just 841 passenger movements. Italy, France, Poland and Germany made up the rest of the leader board, with a cumulative market share of 42.3 per cent.

Airports Council International (ACI), of which Malta International Airport is a member, and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Friday called for the removal of all remaining COVID-19 restrictions applying to intra-EU and Schengen area travel, including testing requirements, the need to present proof of vaccination and the need to complete a Passenger Locator Form (PLF).

Article Source

About the Mediterranean Observer

The Mediterranean Observer is a news portal dedicated to travel tourism, and hospitality in the Mediterranean region. This portal is managed by the Mediterranean Tourism Foundation, based in the Mediterranean country of Malta.