Things are going so well at AirAsia X that the airline is squeezing in six quarters to its financial year ending December 31st, 2022. This is good news because, in the fifth quarter, the mid-range affiliate of the AirAsia Aviation Group recorded its first net profit since 2019.
The 5th quarter makes money
For the three months ending September 30th (Q5), AAX earned revenue of RM100.1 million ($22.02 million) and a net profit of RM25.1 million ($5.52 million), compared to RM107.2 million ($23.58 million) and a net loss of RM652.5 million ($143.55 million) in the previous quarter. The minor drop in earnings came from a decline in freight revenue. AAX Malaysia CEO Benyamin Ismail said that despite the high fuel prices and weakened Malaysian rigitt against the US Dollar the recovery is on track.
“While we are cautious of the strenuous operating conditions, we remain confident that the recovery of the company is on the horizon, if not already within our reach. At the beginning of Q5, AAX was charting three flights per week and this surged to 23 flights per week by the end of the period under review.”
AAX is riding the Asia-Pacific surging demand for restriction-free travel and the almost-universal high airfare environment. It is managing its capacity-demand equation well, with passenger load factors (PLFs) rising to 73%, inching closer to the pre-pandemic level of 81%. In Q5, AAX carried 80,385 passengers, a dramatic increase over the 8,892 it carried between April-June. Seat capacity rose to 110,615 during Q5, compared to 27,521 in Q4, as additional frequencies and markets were added.
Fleet options appear settled
In Q5, AAX said it operated a fleet of six Airbus A330s from a fleet of nine, as two A330s were returned during the quarter. It plans to increase the fleet to 13 A330s by the first half of calendar 2023 to meet growing demand and network expansion. According to ch-aviation.com, AAX has orders in place for 20 Airbus A321XLRs, 15 A330-900neos and one A330-300.
AAX operates to Sydney, Melbourne and Perth in Australia; Sapporo and Tokyo in Japan; and Seoul, Delhi, Auckland and Jeddah. It also flies three dense short-haul routes – Kota-Kinabalu and Kuching in Malaysia and Bali in Indonesia. By 2023 it expects to be operating to most of its pre-COVID destinations, with more new routes soon to be announced.
The other member of the AAX Group, Thai AirAsia X (TAAX), is not as far advanced as AirAsia X Malaysia (AAX), posting Q5 revenue of $6.1 million and a net loss of $52.2 million. The AAX Group chairman, Tunku Dato’ Mahmood Fawzy, said he “looks forward to sharing further details of TAAX’s rehabilitation plan in due course, as it continues to operate normal scheduled passenger services.”
A word on the arithmetic of how many quarters make a whole. For the second time in two years, AirAsia X (AAX) has changed its financial year period. On December 2nd, 2020, AAX changed its financial year end from December 31st, 2020, to June 30th, 2021. In August this year, AAX announced it was extending this financial from June 30th to December 31st, thereby encompassing an 18-month, or six ‘quarters’ period. This change came as the airline completed its restructuring and wanted to “recalibrate its focus on the revamped business plan.”
Will AirAsia X’s extra capacity affect prices in Asia?
- IATA/ICAO Code:
- Airline Type:
- Low-Cost Carrier
- Year Founded:
- Riad Asmat