LONDON – Malaysian long haul low-cost airline AirAsiaX has returned to profitability, but stresses sustainable growth as a mid-range and niche low-cost carrier. The airline returned a net profit of RM25.1 million for the first time since 2019, with its cash position more than tripled to RM79.5 million.
Air Asia X posted a net profit of RM25.1 million for the quarter as compared to a net loss of RM652 million in the preceding quarter. The revenue for the company was slightly lower at RM100.1 million when compared to RM107.2 million during the same period.
In other business units, recovery is on full steam, which has significantly improved as scheduled passengers and charter flights have seen a pent-up in demand, along with ancillary revenues. This is evidently shown in the ancillary revenue spillover to the preceding quarter respectively.
In the 5th quarter of 2022, Air Asia X has shown a strong recovery compared to the preceding quarter, with earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) of RM25.4 million. The profit before tax was recorded at RM23.8.
Air Asia X is very upbeat about its load factor, and it is reported that the Passenger Load Factor or PLSF stood at 73% during this quarter, which is less than 10% points prior to the pandemic period, where the PLF stood at 81% in 2019 respectively.
Air Asia X welcomed a total of 80,385 passengers during this quarter. Seat capacity also grew to 110,615 as expected during the same quarter from 27,521.
During this period, the number of flights flown grew significantly to 291 sectors from 226 in the 4th quarter of 2022. Following the return to scheduled services in April of this year, Air Asia X has made significant progress in its network recovery, with Sydney re-added to its strategic network.
Whilst popular domestic routes such as Kota Kinabalu and Kuching have been added respectively. The low-cost carrier has also made significant adjustments to its existing markets in Seoul and Delhi to aid pent-up demand.
AisAsia X comments
AirAsia X Malaysia CEO Benyamin Ismail commented on Air Asia’s X performance for the quarter and outlook : “AAX is now well on track in its recovery path even as the airline is compelled to operate in a challenging operational environment dictated by high fuel prices and a weakened Malaysian Ringgit against the US Dollar.”
“While we are cautious of the strenuous operating conditions, we remain confident that the recovery of the Company is on the horizon, if not already within our reach. In the previous quarter, we resumed our scheduled passenger flights to Seoul and Delhi, and are pleased to report that we have also resumed our services to Sydney and introduced additional frequencies to Seoul and Delhi in 5Q22.”
“Due to high demand, AAX had also commenced operations on dense, short-haul routes during the quarter where demand has exceeded currently available aircraft capacity; namely Kota Kinabalu and Kuching. At the beginning of 5Q22, AAX was charting three flights per week and this surged to 23 flights per week by the end of the period under review.
“In terms of average base fare, we continue to see a healthy trend of RM625 during the quarter, as compared to sub-RM500 pre-COVID-19. Despite a higher fare environment, we are confident of still providing the best-valued fares in our category in the market. We look forward to resuming services to more of our mid-range destinations in the coming months.”
“Recently, we announced our return to a number of additional popular destinations, including Melbourne, Perth, Auckland, Tokyo-Haneda, Hokkaido-Sapporo, Jeddah and Bali-Denpasar. By the end of the year, we expect to be flying over 70 flights per week.
“Following the most challenging period in commercial aviation history, we are back indeed, stronger than ever. We look forward to welcoming everyone back onboard with us as we rise up to meet the strong pent-up demand for medium-haul air travel across Asia.”
“Importantly I am also thrilled to confirm that we are reactivating more aircraft to service, bringing back furloughed staff by the first quarter of next year and are now recruiting new flight crew once again.”
Air Asia X is now on a path to recovery with the high season at its doorstep. It is safe to say that the airline has now left the pandemic behind. Air Asia X will continue to flourish even further if the Chinese market reopens completely.