KUALA LUMPUR, April 10 — Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) will leverage the strong recovery of air travel as airlines accelerate their flight capacities back to pre-pandemic levels, said Hong Leong Investment Bank (HLIB) today.

In its research note, the investment bank said the expected improvement from the international segment will boost margins, alongside the ongoing commercial reset programme to accelerate non-aeronautical contributions to even stronger than pre-pandemic level.

“The finalisation of the operating agreement and regulated asset base will strengthen MAHB’s position in airport development with a relatively attractive allowable return,” it added.

Furthermore, the investment bank said Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport’s (ISGA) recovery was stronger than expected as it returned to the black in 2022 and is expected to record stronger earnings going forward.


HLIB said MAHB is focusing to accelerate the recovery of the international travel segment, both Asean and non-Asean, in 2023 as more international travel requirements are being relaxed.

“Based on latest January-February statistics, MAHB has recorded passenger movement recovery back to 80 per cent of pre-pandemic level for the domestic segment, 70 per cent for Asean and 55 per cent for non-Asean; which we believe there is strong potential upside to the international segment as we anticipate continued recovery into 2023-24, driven mainly by AirAsia group,” it added.

During the pandemic, MAHB has also taken the opportunity to implement its commercial reset programme to improve the airport traveller experience.


HLIB said the programme improves the structure of the rental business model, reconfigures the mix of shops and increases overall retail space by 10 per cent while MAHB’s wholly owned retail Eraman’s operations are also being realigned to enhance the average income per passenger.

“We noticed there was an improvement in patrons at the restaurants and food garden area in KLIA during our recent site visit. We expect a stronger contribution from the non-aeronautical segment as air travel continues its recovery traction in 2023-2024 compared to pre-pandemic 2019,” it added. — Bernama