AirAsia X 1Q net profit quadruples on 13% growth in passenger volume

AirAsia X 1Q net profit quadruples on 13% growth in passenger volume
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KUALA LUMPUR (May 22): Long-haul low-cost carrier AirAsia X Bhd's (AAX) net profit quadrupled to RM41.5 million in the first quarter ended March 31, 2018 (1QFY18) from RM10.34 million a year ago, supported by a 13% year-on-year (y-o-y) growth in passenger volume.

Earnings per share for 1QFY18 rose to one sen from 0.2 sen in 1QFY17.

Quarterly revenue also rose 7.2% to a record RM1.27 billion from RM1.18 billion a year ago.

"Despite a slight reduction in the average fare of 3% y-o-y, the airline has maintained the load factor of 84% in the current quarter under review, which is consistent with the same period last year," said AAX in a filing with Bursa Malaysia today.

"During 1QFY18, the airline has also delivered an additional 231,855 seat capacity, which represents a 14% y-o-y increase," it added.

In terms of costs, the airline's cost per available seat kilometre reduced by 2% to 13.27 sen as a result of improved cost efficiency on the back of higher aircraft utilisation as well as by the appreciation of the ringgit earlier this year.

"(Going forward,) the management remains cautious but confident on maintaining our cost efficiency so as to ensure the sustainability of the airline's profitable business model," said AAX Malaysia chief executive officer (CEO) Benyamin Ismail in a separate statement.

On prospects, AAX said it recognises the challenges posed by the recent hike in fuel prices, adding that efforts are being put forth through the boost in ancillary and capacity numbers.

"The airline is confident of presenting the results from these measures during the third and fourth quarters of the financial year. Based on the current forward booking trend, forward loads are trending better than the previous year.

"Barring any unforeseen circumstances, including but not limited to terrorist attacks, natural disasters, epidemics, economic downturn, fuel price hike and fluctuation in foreign currencies against the ringgit, the airline expects its prospects to remain positive," said AAX.

"Our focus on data and digital initiatives also continue to pay off as we look forward to push ancillary income higher in the coming quarters. Moving forward for the rest of 2018, AAX will continue to strengthen our market leadership in our core markets as we believe the airline have an abundant growth story in the coming years," said its group CEO Datuk Kamarudin Meranun and co-group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes.

AAX shares closed up 0.5 sen or 1.33% at 38 sen today, with 10.76 million shares done, bringing a market capitalisation of RM1.58 billion.