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Malaysia Airlines announces profit of RM101.1 million for Second Quarter 2003

Travel News Asia 10 November 2003

Malaysia Airlines returned a Group net profit of RM101.1 million for the second quarter ended 30 September 2003, making a crucial rebound from the severe impact of SARS in the first quarter that caused the airline to incur a loss of RM 164.5 million.

A steady return of travel confidence provided the main push behind the recovery. Operating revenue improved to RM 2,128.1 million from RM1,642.6 million last quarter, an increase of 29.5% although this is still lower than that achieved in the same period last year.

The quarter saw a steady rise in international passenger load factor with notable improvement to 72.5%, as compared to 54.7% in the preceding quarter, peaking at 75.3% in September. 

The airline has restored its capacity production to pre SARS level and said it is looking to resume its plans set for the year. Recently the airline introduced two direct services from London Heathrow to Penang and London Heathrow to Langkawi and in December will add two new destinations in Indonesia - Jogjakarta and Padang. The SARS-postponed start up services to Guangzhou and Xiamen from Kota Kinabalu and Kuching have resumed. The airline's network planning remains focused on pushing for growth in the region.

Cargo operations which contributed strongly the past two quarters remain positive. MASKargo has recently added a sixth freighter to its fleet. This would enable the company to plan additional capacity and service frequencies to its target markets.

Malaysia Airlines balance sheet remains comfortable. Cash reserves rose from RM913 million in the last quarter to RM1,336 million.

In the near term the airline looks forward to a seasonal boost over the forthcoming end of year holiday period and the Chinese Lunar New Year which falls in the last quarter of the airline's financial year. The international economic forecast appears to slant towards an improving outlook albeit continued caveats on unanticipated political events.

Dato' Md Nor Yusof said today, "We are back on course with our long term business plans. Our existing Airbus fleet is currently being reconfigured to two class operations and this will be followed by a major cabin upgrade for our Boeing 747s and Boeing 777s. These are some of the concerted measures we are taking to improve our front end product offering for business travelers while maintaining our advantage in the leisure market segment. We still look to increase our market presence but cognizant of the fact that we are not alone with the idea. There will be even more intense competitive pressure. We will need to exercise constant vigilance and to temper confidence with caution".

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