AirAsia 1Q passenger volume up 3% to 11.89m

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KUALA LUMPUR (May 18): AirAsia Bhd announced that the number of passengers the group carried in the first quarter of 2015 (1Q15) - tallied from its subsidiaries in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and India - was up 3% to 11.89 million from 11.48 million a year ago.

The improved performance came despite a lack of marketing activities in most of the first quarter out of respect for the tragic QZ8501 incident, which crashed into the Java Sea last Dec 28 during bad weather, killing all 155 passengers and seven crew on board, said AirAsia in a media statement today.

AirAsia (fundamental: 0.2; valuation: 0.8) said overall capacity for its operations in the latest quarter increased by 5% to 15.44 million from 14.65 million a year ago, driven by the expansion of its its fleet size by 14 planes to 171.

The group's load factor - the ratio between the number of passengers carried and the group's capacity - was flat at 77%, while average seat kilometre (ASK) improved 6% to 17.62 million from 16.59 million.

This translates to a 4% growth in revenue passenger seat kilometre (RPK) to 13.54 million from 13.03 million in 1Q14.

Segmentally, AirAsia said its operation in Malaysia registered a lower load factor of 75% in 1Q15 against 81% in 1Q14, despite a 10% increase in capacity, via the additional 10 aircraft, bringing its total fleet to 82 aircraft. Load factor is the ratio between the number of passengers carried and capacity.

"Malaysia AirAsia introduced two new routes this quarter: Kuala Lumpur-Pontianak and Johor Bahru-Medan. Frequencies were also increased on two routes: Kuching-Singapore and Kuala Lumpur-Lombok," the group said in the statement.

AirAsia said its Malaysian operation saw a 9% growth in ASK to 9.02 million from 8.26 million, while RPK advanced 2% to 6.78 million from 6.66 million. 

Indonesia AirAsia (IAA) also saw a notable load factor decline to 70% in 1Q15 from 76% in 1Q14, due to the impact of the QZ8501 incident. The number of passengers carried stood at 1.6 million, down 26% from 1Q14, on the back of 19% decrease in capacity. IAA ended the quarter with a total fleet of 29 aircraft, down 1 from the same quarter last year.

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