SEPANG (Nov 22): Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) aims to reopen all its retail space at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) by the first quarter of next year, and 90% of the space by end of this year, according to acting chief executive officer Mohamed Rastam Shahrom.
“As you can see, the vibrancy is coming back to our airport. [There are] more to come, the stores are going to be largely open by the end of the year, will be 90%; [and] fully open by the first quarter. I hope that vibrancy will get KLIA back to its shine,” he told the audience here after attending the opening ceremony of two Eraman duty free stores by subsidiary Malaysia Airports (Niaga) Sdn Bhd on Wednesday (Nov 22).
MAHB is undertaking a major overhaul of the retail and food and beverage (F&B) area at KLIA, which resulted in certain portions of the country’s main air travel gateway to be dotted by shop front hoarding even though it is one and a half years since Malaysia reopened its borders.
Mohamed Rastam did not speak to the press after the opening ceremony, hence it remained unclear what the latest percentage of outlets that stay unopened to-date is, and whether these outlets are generating rental revenue to the group.
As for Eraman, Mohamed Rastam mentioned in his speech that the duty free business has already returned to profit with passenger recovery at KLIA.
“Eraman has already turned a corner, and since last year, they have been very profitable. [Eraman] has maintained our number of head counts, and trained them to be very much customer-centric,” he said.
“Over the last decade, retail has become a crucial component in ensuring an airport’s success. For airport operators, it has become a significant contributor to revenue and is a key success factor in the airport’s standing.
“In 2022, Eraman contributed to the group’s revenue of RM262.4 million. This has helped the group in ensuring the success of our plans and initiatives,” he added.
Mohamed Rastam was appointed as acting CEO last month after Datuk Seri Iskandar Mizal Mahmood stepped down as managing director and group CEO.
Iskandar Mizal’s departure came amid rising scepticism toward MAHB’s ability to meet the deadline in commencing operation of the first railway of automated people mover, more commonly known as aerotrain, by July next year, as the airport operator has not appointed a main contractor for the RM742.95 million job after terminating Pestech Technology Sdn Bhd from the role.