22 July 2017

MALAYSIA Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) will not review its traffic growth target at the local airports it manages despite seeing a double-digit expansion in the first six months of the year.

MAHB maintains 8pc growth target
Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd managing director Datuk Badlisham Ghazali (centre) with Malaysia Airports (Sepang) Sdn Bhd senior general manager Zainol Mohd Isa handing over cakes to the agency representatives of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport during its 19th anniversary celebration in Sepang yesterday. Pix by Mohamad Shahril Badri Saali

A few weeks ago, MAHB said in a filing with Bursa Malaysia that it can achieve about eight per cent growth this year from the earlier target of 6.5 per cent.

Group managing director Datuk Badlisham Ghazali said it would not review its full-year target, although many analysts believed MAHB’s single-digit growth target was relatively conservative.

He said passenger growth at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) had increased by 15.8 per cent in the first-quarter alone. 

The main terminal at KLIA saw passenger growth of 23.3 per cent while that of klia2 grew 7.2 per cent, pushing the passenger volume at both airports to 28 million in the first six months.

Last year, KLIA saw an increase of 7.6 per cent in passenger traffic movements.

MAHB, which is a proxy to resilient local travel demand and improving tourism industry, saw  its overall passenger traffic grow 11 per cent to 46.9 million from January till June, with the second quarter alone totalling 23.7 million passengers.

“For the overall passenger growth, we will stick to between 6.5 and eight per cent (forecast) with some airports recording double-digit growth and some, such as Labuan, recording expected lower traffic.

“Domestic travel has gone up to some degree, with international expansion showing pleasing figures,” he said after KLIA’s 19th anniversary celebration, here, yesterday.

Analysts pointed out that the second quarter was outstanding for MAHB for three reasons: it was the best second-quarter performance in terms of passenger traffic, it exceeded the fourth quarter of last financial year’s 23.5 million passengers, which were seasonally stronger and the highest in MAHB’s history, and it marked the third consecutive quarter the passenger traffic rose by double-digit after enduring 10 quarters of flattish growth.

Unsurprisingly, research houses are more bullish than MAHB.

Credit Suisse AG, for example, has expressed “a high level of confidence” of an 11 per cent expansion this year.

“Encouragingly, the growth was well diversified with 25 countries registering double-digit traffic growth.

Countries like China, India, Indonesia, Japan and the United Kingdom registered more than 20 per cent year-on-year growth,” said Credit Suisse research analyst Joanna Cheah.

MIDF Research has revised its full-year passenger growth forecast from 6.5 to 8.2 per cent.

The optimism stemmed from local and foreign carriers’ aggressive capacity expansion, higher average load factors supported by rising travel demand and better inbound tourist arrivals in the second half.

Meanwhile, MAHB’s Badlisham said there were plans to expand several existing airports, such as Langkawi, Kota Kinabalu and KLIA, which would undergo changes to cater to the anticipated growth.

Original Source: nst

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