On 14 March 2022, Malta International Airport plc published the February 2022 traffic results. These showed that although passenger movements surged to 196,895 compared to just 27,524 in February 2021, last month’s traffic is 53.3% below the February record of 421,567 passenger movements achieved in 2020 just prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe. Meanwhile, although traffic in February have historically always been lower or only marginally better than January, the volume of passengers movements handled by MIA in February 2022 was 23.6% higher than the previous month. Moreover, the seat load factor for February 2022 stood at 70.7% compared to 55.7% in January 2022 and 75.8% in February 2019 and 2020.
MIA explained that the easing of travel restrictions, most of which were introduced at the end of 2021, has unleashed the pent-up demand for air travel as overall capacity in February 2022 remained virtually unchanged from the previous month. The largest market in February 2022 was the UK (with a market share of 18.4%), followed by Italy, France, Poland and Germany (with a combined market share of 42.3%).
Commenting on the traffic update, MIA CEO Mr Alan Borg noted that: ““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.”