AirAsia X passenger volume falls 15% in first three months

KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia X Bhd (AAX) witnessed a 15% drop in number of passengers carried for the first quarter ended March 31, 2015 compared to a year earlier.

The long-haul, low-cost airline affiliate of the AirAsia Bhd said in a statement that it flew a total of 914,970 passengers in the quarter, down from 1.08 million passengers in the same quarter in 2014.

According to AAX preliminary operating statistics released on Monday, the carrier’s load factor fell from 86% in Q1 2014 to 74% for the quarter just ended.

Revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) - the number of paying passengers multiplied by the kilometres flown - dropped 17% year on year (y-o-y) to 4.431 billion. Available-seat-kilometres (ASK) capacity decreased by 3% y-o-y to 6.020 billion. 

It said this was a result of capacity management and slowdown in marketing activities during the first three months of the year with respect to Indonesia AirAsia flight QZ 8501 tragedy in December.

“Consequently, y-o-y load factor during the quarter dropped 12 percentage points to 74% against 86% same period last year. Current bookings trends are in line with expectations for a recovery in the second half of 2015,” the carrier said. 

AAX said it had implemented frequency cut on certain routes, mainly China and Australia, and concurrently terminated loss-making routes – Adelaide and Nagoya - to optimise capacity in line with its turnaround strategy.

It said the excess capacity from capacity management had re-deployed to short-term wet lease and charter operations, to maximise revenue.  

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