KUALA LUMPUR: PublicInvest research has maintained its neutral call on AirAsia X Bhd
with a target price of 23 sen following its 5% year-on-year (y-o-y) contraction in 1QFY19 traffic volume.
The airline's recently released operating statistics showed traffic volume had fallen to 1.51 million pax on the back of a 4.5% decline in the available seat per km (ASK) due to shorter stage routes after the termination of Tehran, Kathmandu and Male in 2018.
"This brings the passenger load factor to fall by 0.5ppts to 83.3%," said PublicInvest.
On a quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q) basis traffic volume grew a slight 0.9% despite ASK falling 5% as the Malaysian operations terminated the AUckland route from February 2019.
The number of passengers carried was below PublicInvest's expectations at only 20% of its full-year estimates while the ASK accounted for only 18% of its forecast.
"No aircraft was added during the quarter. MAAX has introduced new Taipei-Osaka route in January 2019 and launched KL-Fukuoka route in February 2019.
"MAAX also has realigned its capacity on selected routes e.g. Taipei, Gold Coast, Perth and Sydney to improve its yield," said the research house.
Meanwhile, Thailand AAX passengers' load remained strong at 90% in the quarter as compared to 94% a year ago and expanded its route network to six routes from four in 1Q18.
Indonesia AAX served its final cheduled flight from Bali to Tokyo in January 2019 and will operate its two aircraft on a non-scheduled flight basis moving forward.