Increased traffic forecast at Thai airports

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Increased traffic forecast at Thai airports

The state-controlled Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) is forecasting a 12 percent growth in combined passenger throughput between October 2014 and September 2015 at its six airports, which includes Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

If the projected numbers do indeed eventuate, this would equate to a jump in passenger throughput numbers from 87.6 million persons to 98.1 million. That will mean a sharp increase compared to the last fiscal year, which saw growth at a mere 1.67 percent. Of course, that practically line-ball result was due largely to the political crisis which gripped Bangkok between late 2013 and the military coup in May 2014.

Political unrest was the main reason for the severe downturn in tourist numbers in the first half of 2014, at least as far as the AoT is concerned.

Aircraft movements through AoT-operated airports are only expected to grow by about five percent up to September 2015, which is down significantly from the nine percent rise in 2013-2014 when 609,937 take-offs and landings were handled across the six AoT airports.

The reason for this stunted growth is due to the fact low-cost carriers are rationalizing flight capacity, which had expanded by a substantial 30 percent in the last fiscal year.

AoT believes there will be strong growth in international passenger traffic, projecting a 15 percent jump from the 51.2 million seen in the last fiscal year, while international aircraft movements are expected to rise 10 percent from the 324,792 of the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

Yet, while the international segment is expected to grow solidly, the domestic passenger traffic and aircraft movements will likely retard the final complete picture by being marginal for the next fiscal year. AoT expects just two percent growth in both metrics, from 36.4 million passengers and 285,145 aircraft movements a year ago.

In financial terms, the expected improvements should lead to a stronger position than the last fiscal year. Revenue is expected to grow by about 10 percent over last year’s 39.8 billion baht. This will come by way of higher returns from the passenger service charge, or airport tax, from international passengers.

AoT witnessed a 25.3 percent decline in net profit in the last fiscal year, due primarily to lower foreign exchange gains, a slow down in air traffic, and the inflated impairment of assets.

The foreign exchange gain dropped by a whopping 88.4 percent to just 364 million baht, down from 3.13 billion baht.

Loss on impairment of assets was around 102 percent, or 3.34 billion baht, due to the reversal of the impairment of assets at Don Muang International Airport (3.6 billion baht) and Mae Fah Luang-Chiang Rai airport (83.6 million baht).