PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd’s (MAHB) network of airports, including Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport, recorded 10.4 million passengers in May 2018, a decline of 2.3% from May 2017, mainly due to a more subdued air travel demand during Ramadan fasting month and shift in school holidays in Malaysia. International traffic registered 4.8 million passengers with a year-on-year decline of 0.3%, while domestic traffic fell 3.9% to 5.6 million passengers compared with the same period a year ago, recording 5.6 million passengers. “The two-week school holidays in 2018 was scheduled to June (June 11 – June 24) to coincide with the Aidilfitri festival season that is expected to fall on June 15 and June 16. The downward trend in traffic was similar to the decline experienced in 2017 and in previous years during Ramadan,” MAHB said in a filing with the stock exchange. Air passenger traffic in Malaysia was down by 3.5% in May, with the international traffic and the domestic sector contracting 0.6% and 6.4%, respectively. Klia2 recorded a growth of 2.3% to 2.53 million passengers while KLIA main terminal saw a decline of 8.2% to 2.13 million passengers. MAHB said most of the airports in Malaysia registered positive growth in passenger movements year to date May 2018 over year to date May 2017, with exceptions for eight domestic airports. Meanwhile, international traffic registered lower movements partly due to unexpectedly less travel leading up to the 14th general election and less air travel demand during Ramadan. Moving forward, MAHB said the reduction in the Goods and Services Tax would likely make domestic air travel cheaper. “The current airline schedules filed also indicate some upswing for the domestic sector which has been in the negative territory for almost a year.” The airports operator opined that the current oil price uptrend is unlikely to hamper the air travel growth, based on the past studies by the International Air Transport Association.