MAS heading for profit, record passenger numbers

MAS heading for profit, record passenger numbers

PETALING JAYA - Malaysia Airlines (MAS) may eke out a small profit for the third quarter ended Sept 30 (Q3'13), reversing six months of losses, on the back of record passenger numbers, according to analysts.

The flag carrier is scheduled to release its financial results on Monday, followed by AirAsia X on Tuesday and AirAsia Bhd on Wednesday.

Q3'13 promises to be an "interesting quarter", as all three airlines had seen robust traffic growth and impressive loads, Maybank IB Research said in a note to clients two days ago.

The brokerage expects MAS to break even with a net profit of RM17mil, owing to a seasonally strong third quarter and load factor of 84.8 per cent - a historic feat for the airline.

"We applaud the management for being able to boost Q3'13's load factor by 10.4 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) to 84.8 per cent, a personal best and the highest among all of Asia-Pacific's full-service carriers," Maybank IB Research said.

Malaysia's nine-month passenger traffic rose 16.6 per cent y-o-y, the second highest in Asia-Pacific.

Jerry Lee, who tracks aviation stocks for RHB Research, told StarBiz that MAS' Q3'13 was set to show an improvement over last year and Q2'13. MAS should also post better results in the second half of the year compared with the first half, Lee said.

The fourth quarter is usually the best season for airlines, making up some 50 per cent of full-year earnings.

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