In a statement today, it said the performance was also driven by an 8% increase in domestic and international capacity.
MAB said load factor was unchanged at 75.2% as the airline matched increase in capacity with market demand.
The airline also saw a marginal growth in yield on the back of the added capacity and a positive passenger growth of 5%.
"Ancillary revenue had improved by 23% y-o-y in Q1 2019 following initiatives that allow passengers greater choice and flexibility, coupled with competitive pricing for products such as prepaid baggage, seat selection and other ancillary products," it said.
The number of passengers accessing the three Golden Lounges in KLIA had also increased, following refurbishments and improvements in offerings.
Meanwhile, the airline achieved an on-time performance of 86% compared with 76% recorded the previous year, a result of improved operational efficiencies including network realignment as well as improved technical dispatch reliability and ground handling process.
Additionally, its customer satisfaction index and net promoter score also recorded an uptrend following improvements in cabin, boarding and check-in services as well as website and mobile application experience.
"Notwithstanding an improvement in our Q1 operational performance compared with last year’s performance, we expect 2019 to remain extremely challenging.
"The competitive environment is expected to continue to tighten in 2019 due to overcapacity in the region as well as domestic, which is largely driven by the price-sensitive leisure market which directly impacts yield," said group chief executive officer Izham Ismail.
While the airline hedged against fuel and foreign exchange, it would continue to be impacted by external volatilities, including the ongoing United States-China trade war, he said, adding that the airline does not foresee to break-even this year.
Izham also said MAB would continue its revenue improvements through enhanced product and service offerings while driving cost optimisation.
"Our forward booking looks much stronger compared to last year as the airline continues to strengthen sales channels including travel trade partners and build on existing products such as MHexplorer.
"The airline is also looking to build revenue via other methods beyond traditional ticket sales which will include deeper collaborations with our partners,” he added.
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