Malta International Airport has strongly urged the Government and authorities to remove the remaining travel restrictions currently in place due to COVID-19. The call comes from the wider Airports Council International, of which MIA is a member, and the International Air Transport Association.
They call for the removal of all restrictions related to COVID applying to intra-EU and Schengen area travel, including testing requirements, the need to present proof od vaccination and the need to complete a Passenger Locator Form (PLF).
Commenting, MIA CEO Alan Borg said:
“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.
“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.”
MIA February traffic
Last February’s passenger traffic registered a sevenfold increase over the same month in 2021. However, traffic, which totalled 196,895 passenger movements, remained 45.2 per cent below 2019 levels.
Improved Demand for Air Travel
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 per cent over the previous month.
“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.”
Further indicating that this increase was driven by demand rather than improved capacity, is the drop of three per cent in February’s seat capacity compared to January’s, MIA said in a statement.
“Standing at a healthy 70.7 per cent, the seat load factor (SLF) for February was just 5.1 per cent lower than 2019 levels.”
February saw the United Kingdom claim the top spot in MIA’s market leaderboard. 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 leaderboard, with a cumulative market share of 42.3 per cent.
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