AirAsia recorded 67% load factor in 3Q

In a statement on its preliminary 3Q21 operating statistics released on Friday (Oct 29), the low-cost airline said its seat capacity fell 82% year-on-year during the quarter under review. (Photo by Mohd Suhaimi Mohamed Yusuf/The Edge)

In a statement on its preliminary 3Q21 operating statistics released on Friday (Oct 29), the low-cost airline said its seat capacity fell 82% year-on-year during the quarter under review. (Photo by Mohd Suhaimi Mohamed Yusuf/The Edge)

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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 29): AirAsia Group Bhd’s consolidated air operator’s certificate recorded a load factor of 67% in the third quarter of 2021 (3Q21), down one percentage point from the same period last year.

In a statement on its preliminary 3Q21 operating statistics released on Friday (Oct 29), the low-cost airline said its seat capacity fell 82% year-on-year (y-o-y) during the quarter under review.

"The number of passengers carried slipped to 351,971 from 1.92 million,” it said.

The carrier said during the quarter under review, AirAsia Malaysia operated at 10% capacity and carried 9% of passengers in comparison to last year’s 3Q due to strict travel restrictions in place for the most part of 3Q21.

Nonetheless, a month-on-month comparison confirmed that AirAsia Malaysia more than doubled the number of passengers carried in September as compared to August, resulting in a 13 percentage points load factor improvement driven by the opening of the Langkawi travel bubble, which commenced on Sept 16.

“Subsequently, nationwide interstate and some limited international travel were authorised from Oct 11 onwards, resulting in a surge in bookings from travellers, particularly in visiting friends and relatives and leisure travel markets.

“This upward trend is expected to continue throughout 4Q21 and well into 2022 as global travel restrictions continue to ease,” it said.

Due to the temporary hibernation of the fleet in support of containment efforts by the government, AirAsia Indonesia carried 21% of passengers with 26% of capacity operated in comparison to the same quarter last year.

Since mid-October, AirAsia Indonesia gradually resumed flights in line with demand, commencing with the Jakarta-Bali route, and it is optimistic about further easing of travel restrictions in the near future as the population's vaccination rate against Covid-19 continues to increase.

Meanwhile, AirAsia Philippines outperformed AirAsia’s other airline entities during 3Q21, reporting stronger y-o-y and quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q) performances. 

AirAsia Philippines demonstrated a strong performance in 3Q21, posting a 167% growth in the number of passengers carried y-o-y and a 5% increase q-o-q.

The load factor was healthy at 77%, attributed to active capacity management.

For AirAsia Thailand, it carried 4% of passengers on 5% of capacity in comparison to the same quarter last year as flights were temporarily hibernated for the most part of 3Q21 in accordance with the government’s containment efforts.

“This setback was reversed in the middle of the quarter following the government's announcement of resumption of flights starting from Sept 3, when the number of bookings increased significantly, particularly for popular leisure destinations which achieved load factors as high as 90%,” the group said.