KUALA LUMPUR: Khazanah Nasional Bhd managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar admitted that Malaysia Airlines Bhd’s (MAB) turnaround plan is slightly behind the schedule due to volatile currencies and oil prices. The national carrier is now expected to be profitable next year instead of this year. However with the recovery of the brand, he foresees MAB to breakeven as soon as the second half of this year or the first half of 2019, the latest. “If not because of the currency factor, MAB would have breakeven six months earlier,” he told a press conference today. Khazanah had also planned to list MAB in 2019. MAB recorded a 2% year-on-year improvement in revenue average seat per kilometre in the third quarter (Q3) of 2017, with load factor remained stable at 77.5% compared with 77.8% in Q2 2017. It carried a total of 3.4 million passengers in Q3 2017, lower than the 3.6 million passengers recorded in Q2 2017. MAB appointed a new group CEO in Captain Izham Ismail in December 2017, after Peter Bellew’s abrupt departure just 16 months into his three year contract. On another note, Azman said Khazanah is open to the merger of Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) and Axiata Group Bhd as well as looking to list Axiata’s unit edotco, according to Khazanah Nasional Bhd managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar. “For us, it’s about performance. If it makes sense, we’re open to merger, but it still depends on the structure and market conditions,” he said. Axiata was formerly a part of TM and demerged in 2008. Speculation has been rife that the two would merge, sparking a much needed consolidation in the increasingly competitive telecommunication industry. TM’s share price was down three sen to close at RM6.08, while Axiata closed unchanged at RM5.55 today. Azman said overall Khazanah prefers to list its companies, but there is “no rush” for the listing of edotco. Edotco is involved in the communications infrastructure solutions and services, with a network of over 13,000 sites in Malaysia, Bangladesh, Cambodia and Sri Lanka as well as 12,000km fibre network in Pakistan.