Long hard slog on AAX, but feeling good, says Fernandes

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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 22): Low-cost long-haul carrier AirAsia X Bhd’s (AAX) co-founder and co-group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes hailed the carrier’s earnings for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2017.

In a follow-up to his earlier tweet yesterday, Fernandes this morning said: “Been a long hard slog on @airasia X but we looking and feeling good.

“Growth again. Strong associates in thailand and Indonesia. We will show value as we did in AirAsia,” he tweeted.

“Great set of results from AirAsia X,” he had earlier said in his twitter account yesterday.

AAX’s net profit more than doubled to RM84.41 million in the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2017 (4QFY17) from RM39.01 million a year ago, supported by a 12% growth in passenger volume.

Earnings per share rose to 2 sen versus 0.9 sen in 4QFY16. Quarterly revenue also increased 4.3% to RM1.22 billion in 4QFY17, from RM1.17 billion in 4QFY16.

This was despite a higher other operating expenses of RM149.73 million in 4QFY17 – which included a provision for doubtful debts of RM11.8 million – compared with RM109.32 million in 4QFY16.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia yesterday, the airline said ancillary revenue per passenger increased by 4% to RM142 year-on-year in 4QFY17.

"The seat load factor was at 83%, which was 2 percentage point higher than the same period last year. However, average fare was down by 8% at RM519, compared with RM565 achieved in 4QFY16," it added.

The improved quarterly results lifted AAX's net profit for full FY17 to RM98.89 million, more than doubling from RM44.84 million the previous year. Revenue was also up 17% to RM4.56 billion, from RM3.9 billion in FY16.

Based on the current forward booking trend, AAX said forward loads and average fares are trending better than the previous year.

At 9.32am, AAX pared some of its gains and was up 4.94% in active trade.

The stock gained 2 sen to 42.5 sen with 84.97 million shares done. The stock had earlier risen to a high of 44 sen.