KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 14): Malaysia Airlines Bhd said today its third quarter operating performance was impacted by stiff competition, rising fuel prices and adverse foreign exchange movements, further exacerbated by crew shortages, especially in July and August.
Describing it as "challenging", the national airline saw passenger yield came under pressure to record 21.5 sen in 3Q 2018, down from 22.6 sen in 3Q 2017.
It attributed this to the inability to deploy planned peak upgrading of aircraft to a widebody during the period as a result of crew shortages, which had impacted revenue.
"The airline has since activated an extensive recruitment exercise, supported by an aggressive cadet enlistment and training programme to build a strong pipeline of crew and is confident that the situation will be stabilised by early 2019," it said in a statement today.
Nevertheless, Malaysia Airlines recorded a marginal 1.4% rise in revenue average seat per kilometer (RASK) to 21.2 sen in 3Q 2018 from 20.9 sen in 3Q 2017. This was mainly driven by higher cargo revenue, up 29% year-on-year.
The airline carried 2.1% more passengers to 3.47 million in 3Q 2018 compared with 3.4 million a year ago.
Passenger load factors also increased 3% to 80.5% in 3Q 2018 from 77.5% a year ago. Recovery in international business continued in the third quarter, with a load factor of 81.7% versus 78.4% in 3Q 2017, said Malaysia Airlines.