AirAsia slips into red in 4Q with RM395m net loss

By RAHIMI YUNUS / Pic By TMR File

Low-cost carrier operator AirAsia Group Bhd has registered a net loss of RM394.97 million in the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2018 (4Q18), from a net profit of RM372.65 million a year ago, mainly due to higher fuel and operating lease expenses.

The airline’s revenue for the three-month period, however, rose to RM2.82 billion from RM2.66 billion previously.

The increase in operating lease expenses was due to completion of sales and leaseback transactions, whereby airplanes previously owned by the airline were sold and leased back.

For the full-year 2018 (FY18), AirAsia’s net profit rose to RM1.98 billion from RM1.63 billion recorded in 2017. Revenue also increased to RM10.6 billion from RM9.7 billion previously.

The full-year performance was partly contributed by the 14% growth in total passenger carried, AirAsia said in a filing to Bursa Malaysia yesterday.

“Load factor dropped from 88% to 85% as the growth in total passengers carried was lower than the capacity growth of 18%. Overall unit passenger revenue decreased by 3% from RM225 to RM218,” the company stated.

In 2019, AirAsia expects airport cost to be lower, while other costs are being reduced through various digitalisation initiatives.

“AirAsia has hedged 52% of Brent (crude oil) at an average of US$63.41 (RM257.84) for FY19,” the company noted.

The airline also foresees Malaysia to continue being the market leader with a 58% market share and a targeted load factor of 87% in 1Q19.

AirAsia expects to turn around its Philippines operation by focusing on North Asia- Philippines leisure market with a targeted load factor of 90%.

In Indonesia, the company has planned to expand its route to serve new and underserved leisure destination with a targeted load factor of 84%, while Thailand’s recovery on the arrival of Chinese and Indian tourists is expected to deliver a high load factor of 90% on a no-fee visa on arrival scheme by the government.

AirAsia has proposed an interim dividend of 12 sen per share for FY18 amounting to RM401 million, payable on April 10, 2019.