PETALING JAYA: AirAsia X Bhd’s (AAX) net profit rose 301.49% to RM41.5mil, predominantly due to higher efficiency on its operations for the first quarter to March 31.
Its revenue increased 7.17% to RM1.27bil. This saw its earnings per share increasing to one sen from 0.2 sen previously.
AAX’s strong revenue came on the back of a 13% growth in the number of passengers carried to 1.59 million passengers, exceeding the available seat km (ASK) capacity growth of 10%.
The company’s cash position increased to RM426.14mil from RM336.42mil previously. For the period, the company maintained its load factor of 84%.
Average passenger fare dropped to RM527 from RM544 previously, while ancilliary revenue per passenger reduced to RM169 from RM173 previously.
Revenue passenger km (RPK), meanwhile, increased 9% to 7.66 million, while ASK increased 10% to 9.12 million.
AAX said the surge in the number of passengers carried and the ASK capacity were mainly attributed to the commencement of new routes in the second half of last year and in the first quarter of 2018, aside from an increase in frequency of its flights in the North Asian market.
Cost per available seat km (CASK) decreased 2% year-on-year (y-o-y) to 13.27 sen due to improved cost efficiency on the back of higher aircraft utilisation despite the higher fuel price recorded in the first quarter of the year. Ex-fuel, CASK was also lower by 10% y-o-y to 8.11 sen driven by a stronger ringgit against the US dollar.
In a statement, AAX group CEO Datuk Kamarudin Meranun and co-group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said: “The management stepped up to clear up our books in 2017, as we strived to start anew in 2018. We are delighted to announce that in the first quarter of the year, the company recorded its strongest revenue in history, while delivering a commendable net profit of RM41.5mil.
“On the associates, we are thrilled to announce that AAX Thailand’s performance was the strongest since inception. With Thailand’s tourism sector back in full swing, our Thai operations posted a very strong load factor of 94%, unchanged from the same quarter last year, even with an added ASK capacity of 18% y-o-y. AAX Thailand’s revenue grew 50% y-o-y to US$102.8mil, and the number of passengers carried was up by 19%, in line with the added capacity.
“AAX Thailand ended the first quarter with a record profit of US$21.9mil. With such momentum, we are confident of delivering satisfactory news for our Thai associate for quarters to come.”
Meanwhile, AAX Indonesia narrowed its losses to US$2mil during the quarter compared to a net loss of US$7.8mil in the first quarter of 2017.
AAX Malaysia CEO Benyamin Ismail said: “AAX Malaysia’s operational performances during the quarter remained strong. Despite the 33% y-o-y hike in fuel prices and higher fuel consumption due to increased capacity, the company still managed to deliver a strong set of profits for the quarter. We are able to achieve this through an optimised utilisation of our aircraft and rotation of our network.”
On AAX’s outlook for the remainder of the year, Kamarudin and Fernandes said that after various initiatives taken in 2017 to stabilise the business model, it has since terminated loss-making routes such as Tehran and redeployed capacity to new destinations and core markets.
“The airline is now more focused, where 80% of our routes are now within the core five countries that we are flying into. In addition to that, we are moving away from the charter business and GSA in the markets that we fly to in order to keep the cost low,” it said.
AAX also continues to push for higher ancillary income in the coming quarters via its focus on data and digital initiatives.
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