MAS capacity cuts hit KLIA’s growth
SEPANG, April 26 – Malaysia Airlines’ (MAS) route cuts late last year have hit KLIA’s passenger growth numbers and could benefit regional rivals said Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) today.
KLIA saw 6.9 per cent passenger growth in the first quarter of this year as compared with 12.8 per cent in Singapore’s Changi and 14.1 per cent in Bangkok.
MAHB chief financial officer Faizal Mansor said that demand for air travel was healthy but all airports depend on local airlines and the decision by MAS to cut capacity had impacted passenger traffic.
“Route cuts will affect KLIA. If there was no cut, there may have been double digit growth (in passenger traffic),” said Faizal in a press conference.
He added that if passengers wanted to travel to and from Kuala Lumpur to Rome, one of the destinations that had been cut, they would have to go via alternative hubs like Bangkok and Singapore.
“Logically, Singapore will benefit from the capacity cut,” he said.
Kota Kinabalu, which was made an eastern hub for MAS before that status was taken away following its collaboration with AirAsia, also saw passenger growth impacted.
Faizal said that Kota Kinabalu was previously growing at 5-10 per cent annually but had experienced a 1-2 per cent decline in the first quarter of this year.
“Unfortunately, we saw declines in passenger movements in Kota Kinabalu,” he said. “We are monitoring the reduction.”
MAS had cut at least ten destinations in December last year as part of efforts to rationalise its route network in an effort to return to profitability.
Destinations dropped by the flag carrier from KL include Rome, Dubai, Bandung, Cape Town, Buenos Aires and Johannesburg.
Flights discontinued from Kota Kinabalu include those to Osaka, Tokyo, Perth and Seoul.
MAHB posted a pre-tax profit of RM153.7 million in the first quarter or nine per cent higher than the corresponding period last year.
Revenue meanwhile rose 6.5 per cent to RM657.7 million.