On 14 April MIA issued its March 2009 traffic results. During the month of March total passenger movements reached 183,984 representing an 18.8% drop from the figures recorded in the comparative month last year. However, comparisons between the two respective months are distorted since last year’s general elections and Easter festivities both occurred in March.
During the first quarter of 2009, MIA registered a 14.4% decline in passenger movements mainly due to a 10.7% decrease in seat capacity. However the CEO of the airport operator Mr. Julian Jaeger explained that the drop in passengers in the first quarter was lower than expected and thus there is no basis for the company to revise its 2009 forecast of a 5.5% decline in passenger movements.
In collaboration with the Malta Tourism Authority, MIA managed to secure last summer’s seat capacity for the summer months of 2009 despite an average 4.8% decline in the seat capacity across over 600 European airports for the summer months. MIA expects its summer 2009 seat capacity to edge 0.8% higher over the same period last year as a number of airlines (namely Vueling and ClickAir) reconfirmed their routes for the summer while other airlines such as Airmalta, Ryanair, SAS and Easyjet will be servicing new routes.
The CEO also confirmed that in April the Company expects to see an improvement in passenger movements but reiterated that “Summer will no doubt be crucial”.