Stories Of The Year – Aviation | Airlines

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This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly on December 25, 2023 – December 31, 2023.

Malaysian aviation sector’s bumpy flight to recovery

The country’s civil aviation industry was set for a smooth take-off early this year, continuing on the path to recovery post-pandemic as most countries rolled back their travel restrictions, including China — one of the last to reopen its borders to tourists, in March.

Analysts were predicting that the worst was over for the sector following the turnaround in 2022, with 2023 expected to be a year of growth. Demand for travel had been strong last year, with 52.7 million travellers passing through the 39 airports that Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) manages in the country, marking a significant 391% increase compared with the previous year.

Major aviation players in Malaysia also returned to profit, rebounding from their pandemic doldrums as global travel picked up, with the airlines looking to the return of regular flights to China as the next bright spot for them.

Medium-haul, low-cost airline AirAsia X Bhd (AAX) saw a turnaround in its financial performance for the 18-month period ended Dec 31, 2022, with net profit coming in at RM32.98 billion, after a write-back of RM33 billion of liabilities to profits following the completion of its debt restructuring in March 2022. It recently exited Practice Note 17 (PN17) status, and is on track for another profitable year after registering a net profit of RM339.1 million in the nine months ended Sept 30, 2023.

Malaysia Aviation Group Bhd (MAG), the parent company…

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