MALAYSIA: MAHB TALKING TO 10 POTENTIAL PARTNERS FOR ISTANBUL AIRPORT

Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) is currently talking to 10 parties who are interested to become its partner in the ownership of the Istanbul Sabiha Gokchen (ISG) International Airport.

Managing Director, Badlisham Ghazali, said the airports operator, which is interested to maintain its majority ownership in ISG in the short term, had built a significant value in the airport and many parties were interested given that quality assets abroad were very rare.

"Furthermore, MAHB is an international company with established reputation on the business side, so people are comfortable doing business with us," he told a press conference on MAHB's Business Update and 2018 Outlook here today.

ISG registered a pre-tax loss of RM47.3 million for the third quarter of last year, however, Badlisham expects it to return to the black in the 2018 financial year.

When asked on the effects of passenger service charge (PSC) on travel, he said there had been cycles of high charges in the past but it did not have a significant effect on travel demand because the rate was low.

"In fact, our rate is the lowest in the region. Despite the hike in international PSC last year, the sector saw an improvement of 14 per cent.

"However, we understand that there is always sensitivity in this because nobody wants to pay extra, especially for domestic travel, which is why the government has tried to keep it as low as possible," he said.

Meanwhile, MAHB has projected an annual 30 per cent increase in capital expenditure for the next three years to upgrade, maintain and refurbish 10 of the airports in its network. He declined to disclose further information as more figures would be made available in the company's 2017 financial results announcement.

In his briefing, Badlisham said MAHB would allocate RM52.5 million this year for facilities upgrade and refurbishment of six short take-off and landing airport (STOLports) whereby investment in airports in Sarawak alone amounted to an estimated RM42.1 million.

Source: NAM News Network