AirAsia X carried 1.6m passengers in 4Q19

By DASHVEENJIT KAUR

LONG-HAUL budget carrier AirAsia X Bhd’s passenger volume rose 8% year-on-year (YoY) to 1.62 million passengers in the fourth quarter of 2019 (4Q19), from 1.5 million a year earlier.

This was backed by an increase of 4% YoY to 1.99 million in seat capacity during the quarter.

In a statement yesterday, AirAsia X said available seats kilometre (ASK) capacity increased marginally by 1% to 9,211 million on the back of a shorter stage length following the network realignment exercise.

“AirAsia X charted a healthy passenger load factor (PLF) of 81% in 4Q19, which was three percentage points higher than the PLF recorded during the same period last year,” it said.

The carrier said during the quarter under review, flight frequencies to Bali, Taipei, Seoul, Perth, Sydney and the Gold Coast were increased, especially in December, to cater for high demand from the year-end peak travel season.

Last year, AirAsia X introduced five new routes from Kuala Lumpur (KL): Fukuoka, Lanzhou, Taipei- Osaka, Tokyo (Narita) and Singapore.

Flights for KL-Singapore flies 14 times weekly, while KL-Tokyo (Narita) commenced on top of existing KL-Tokyo (Haneda) services.

“These new routes will increase the aircraft’s utilisation rate,” it added.

AirAsia X operates 24 fleets of A330s as at Dec 31, 2019. On the regional front, Thai Air- Asia X registered a 40% surge in total number of passengers carried for 4Q19 to 4.08 million.

The carrier said it was due to the addition of new routes in the 1Q19 and 2Q19, and expansion of its fleet size throughout 2019.

However, its PLF softened by one percentage point to 83% during the quarter, triggered by aggressive fleet and network expansion.

“The fleet size of Thai AirAsia X increased to 13 A330s as at the end of December 2019 following the delivery of one A330-300 aircraft on direct third-party lease in December 2019,” it said.

For the entire 2019, AirAsia X Malaysia carried a total number of 6.1 million passengers, 2% lower YoY, in line with the drop in seat and ASK capacity at 2% and 3% respectively.

According to the airline, this came on the back of the network optimisation exercise and the subsequent route realignment.

The Thailand service carried a total of 2.6 million passengers in 2019, surging by 29%.

“Capacity was up by 41% to 14.47 million, driven by fleet expansion that led to the new routes launched from Bangkok in 2019: Brisbane, Shenyang, Tianjin, and Fukuoka,” it added.

Thai AirAsia X added four A330s throughout 2019.

As at end-December 2019, the total fleet size for AirAsia X Group is 39 A330s, including seven aircraft on direct third-party lease to Thai AirAsia X and two aircraft leased to Indonesia AirAsia X.