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Mixed outlook for Changi as SIA bookings weaken

  • CAAS profits slide by 15% in 2007/08, despite solid traffic performance;
  • SIA sees weaker forward bookings for 2009;
  • Changi shortlisted for New Kunming Airport project.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), operator of Changi International Airport and provider of ATM and other services, reported a sharp 15.2% reduction in operating profit for the 12 months ended 31-Mar-08, as operating costs rose 20.2% year-on-year, mainly related to the opening of the cavernous new Terminal 3 at the start of 2008.

Revenue rose a healthy 8.8% year-on-year, thanks largely to a 17% surge in retail concession revenue (to account for 39% of the total). Passenger numbers rose 4.8% last financial year to 36.7 million on a 3% increase in aircraft movements to 220,746.

Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore financial highlights for 2005/06 to 2007/08 (years ended 31 March): SGD millions

The traffic outlook for Changi is mixed. On the one hand, liberalisation initiatives by Singapore-Malaysia and the wider ASEAN region will lead to an influx of LCC capacity.

Flagship carrier, Singapore Airlines (SIA) however has warned that the financial turmoil around the world and weak consumer confidence are having a noticeable impact on demand. The carrier stated, "although advance bookings for the immediate next quarter are holding up reasonably well, there are signs of weakness beyond that".

Shortlisted for New Kunming Airport project

As traffic growth rates come under pressure, Changi continues to seek offshore expansion opportunities. Overseas airport management and investment arm, Changi Airport International (CAI) this month confirmed it is among those shortlisted to invest in a new airport project in Kunming in Southwest China. The investors may pay as much as USD900 million for a stake in Yunnan Airport Group, the company that will operate the planned airport. Fraport has also been shortlisted.

CAI has an established international track record. It owns a minority stake in China's Nanjing Lukou Airport and provides management and consultancy services in several countries including Russia, China, India and the United Arab Emirates. CAI is expected to become an even more aggressive participant in the global airport sector as its parent is corporatised.

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