2018 looks good for Thai airports

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BANGKOK, 3 January 2018: Financial analysts forecast Airports of Thailand earnings will grow in 2018, as plans to add more airports under its management and an ambitious “Airport City” project begin to take shape.

AOT is studying a commercial plan to add major retail outlets and a shopping mall under its Airport City business model that should increase non-airline revenue that grew 10.57% during the fiscal year ending last September.

AOT reported revenue from sales and services reached THB 54,901.16 million in the fiscal year ending 30 September 2017.

Of that total non airline-related revenue accounted for THB24,075.75 million, representing 44% share.

The main revenue sources in the non-airline category were concessional fees and advance passenger checking service fees.

AOT closed its financial year 30th September and in a recent report released in December it noted that its six airports handled 823,574 flights up 6% and 129 million passengers an increase of 7.73%.

The public-listed company reported a net profit THB20,683.20 million for the fiscal year representing  a 7.07% increase on fiscal year 2016.

APT’s earnings are projected to grow further in 2018 as non-airline sales increase under its Airport City business mode.

Financial analysts say they have still to factor in AOT’s possible takeover of 15 additional airports, possibly by 2020. Airport acquisitions in the provinces could impact on profitability forecasts, but in the long run they forecast remains positive.

AOT is negotiating to take over 15 additional airports owned by Department of Airports and develop some of them into major airports.

Analysts understand that the Department of Airports has agreed to offer AOT two airports in Tak and Udon Thani, but AOT is keen to acquire all 15.

If the takeover goes through the long-term strategy would be to encourage airlines to fly more direct international flights to provincial airports in the hope it would ultimately ease pressure on over-used Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports.

However, as tourists arrivals in 2018 and 2019 are set to increase to around 37 million a year up from an estimated 35.38 million in 2017, congestion at the two Bangkok gateway airports could worsen over the next two years.

AOT’s plans expand capacity all its six airports to reach 184 million passengers per year up from today’s maximum capacity ceiling of 101 million, a benchmark that was surpassed during  the fiscal year 2017 (129 million passengers)

Projects are underway at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok and Phuket, with plans earmarked for the northern Chiang Mai gateway. In the long run AOT’s Chiang Rai airport will undergo expansion.

In 2018, analysts expect AOT to grow profit by 10.7% as passenger volume continue to expand on the back of a buoyant Chinese travel market and a further boost in low-cost airline services from major cities across Asia.

(Source: ASPS Research, AOT statistics.)