Improved earnings likely for Malaysia Airports

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd’s (MAHB) earnings for the second quarter of financial year 2022 (2Q22), are expected to come in stronger, with narrowed losses on the back of a gradual improvement in passenger traffic, says AmInvestment Bank Research.

It noted that MAHB continued to deliver improved passenger statistics in July 2022, with the total passenger volume for the seven-month period soaring 2.8 times year-on-year. This translates to an impressive recovery of 52% from the seven-month period of 2019.

MAHB is slated to announce its 2Q22 results later this week.

“In addition, the daily international passenger movements across its airports in Malaysia kept up a steady recovery momentum, averaging 53,000 in July 2022, which was 35% of the July 2019 level,” AmInvestment Research said in a report yesterday.

The research firm believes international passenger volume is set to rise further with increased seat capacity by airlines in anticipation of more robust air travel demand.

“We gather domestic seat capacity is expected to reach 90% of pre-Covid levels and 50% for the international segment from July onwards,” it added.

Meanwhile, the research firm said the Malaysia Aviation Commission (Mavcom) has released a consultation paper related to the long-term framework for the regulation of aviation service charges, which proposes to keep airport tariffs at current levels (adjustable based on inflation rate).

The proposal, which involves a deferred implementation of the cost-based regulated asset base (RAB) framework in setting airport tariffs, mainly aims at mitigating a sharp rise in airport charges amid lower and unpredictable passenger volume.

“Recall that the RAB framework generally fixes airport charges based on regulated revenue per passenger.

“Assuming that other components of the RAB framework, including operating costs and asset base, remain largely unchanged, the depressed passenger volume currently compared to pre-pandemic levels would inflate the regulated revenue per passenger, which eventually leads to materially higher airport charges,” said AmInvestment Research.

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