MAHB’s total January 2017 passenger numbers growth in line with target


KUCHING: Total January 2017 passengera grew 8.9 per cent year on year (y-o-y) which analysts deemed as to be broadly in line.

In a filing on Bursa Malaysia, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) revealed that total MAHB System – including Istanbul Sabiha Gocken International Airport – registered 8.9 per cent growth for January 2017 with 10 million passenger movements.

MAHB’s 8.9 per cent year on y-o-y-year to date (YTD) growth was deemed as in-line by the research arm of Kenanga Research Investment Bank Bhd (Kenanga Research) with its 6.3 per cent target as it was driven by the group’s stronger Malaysian operations which was mainly due to seasonal Chinese New Year holidays in 2017 which fell on January 28 versus February 8 last year.

“On the local front, airports in Malaysia registered 7.8 million passengers in January 2017, a 13.3 per cent y-o-y growth over January 2016,” MAHB said.

International sector recorded four million passengers with a 14 per cent increase while domestic sector recorded 3.8 million passengers, representing a growth of 12.4 per cent.

KLIA Main registered a growth of 38.4 per cent y-o-y with international and domestic passengers registering positive growth rates of 31.9 per cent and 64.1 per cent, respectively.

In conjunction to seasonality, the research arm believed the growth was mainly supported by Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB)’s increased frequencies coupled with Malindo and Lion Air’s shift from KLIA 2 to KLIA Main since March 2016.

“Meanwhile, KLIA 2 traffic saw a marginal decline of 0.7 per cent y-o-y (international: down 0.9 per cent; domestic: down 0.3 per cent) due to passenger traffic moderating from Malindo and Lion Air’s shift in operations,” it said in a research a report.

As for Turkey, MAHB noted that ISG passengers declined by 4.5 per cent in January 2017 over the same period last year.

The group further noted that the international sector decreased by 8.5 per cent while the domestic sector decreased by 2.4 per cent.

“We note that international traffic has been severely subdued due to numerous terror attacks in Turkey in 2016 – further deterring travellers,” Kenanga Research said.

Kenanga Research believed travel sentiment from the international front will continue to remain weak from the travel concerns in Turkey and the research arm would likely have to further reduce its seven per cent growth target for ISG in financial year 2017 (FY17) should passenger count continue to disappoint by the end of the first quarter of 2017 (1Q17).

Post review of January traffic figures, the research arm made no changes to its FY16-17 earnings forecasts.

Overall, Kenanga Research maintained ‘outperform’ on MAHB with an unchanged target price of RM7.47 per share.