AirAsia posted strong travel demand recovery in 4Q20

By NUR HANANI AZMAN / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

AIRASIA Group Bhd’s (AAGB) posted strong demand recovery in key operating countries as operational metrics improved in December 2020 in comparison to September 2020.

In a statement yesterday, the low-cost carrier stated it recorded 31% increase in passengers carried by AirAsia Thailand and doubling of passengers carried by AirAsia Philippines, while AirAsia Indonesia multiplied its number of passengers carried by a whopping 11 times.

“These improvements signify a solid domestic rebound for air travel demand across the group’s key operating markets,” AAGB said. For the full year, 2020 was a year of resilience for all four aircraft operating certificates (AOCs) which together carried some 23 million passengers.

By December, the four AOCs recovered close to 60% of pre-Covid domestic capacity. Post-Covid, the group expects to benefit from a leaner and optimised airline operation established in 2020, concentrating on recovering the most profitable and popular routes, while exploring opportunities to gain market share.

The group closed the fourth quarter of 2020 (4Q20) with 834,934 passengers carried on a 72% load factor, despite the setback in October and November given the reimplementation of interstate travel restrictions.

“Following the easing of restrictions in December, strong pent-up demand positively translated into an immediate pick-up in domestic travel,” it noted.

AirAsia Indonesia posted a strong rebound in 4Q20, as the number of passengers carried more than quintupled quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) to 389,283 passengers, while load factor improved to 59%, up 10 percentage points (ppts) from 3Q20 as more flights resumed and travel restrictions eased.

In December, AirAsia Indonesia more than tripled its operating capacity compared to November to match demand recovery. Operations remained primarily domestic, with domestic running at a remarkable 93% of pre-Covid capacity in December.

The group is encouraged by the strong rebound in demand and expects AirAsia Indonesia to fully recover to its pre-Covid domestic capacity in 1Q21.

AirAsia Philippines carried 117,948 passengers in 4Q20 and reported a load factor of 64%. On a month-to-month basis, AirAsia Philippines’ number of passengers carried doubled, while domestic operating capacity increased by 5ppts to 13% in December compared to September.

AirAsia Thailand’s performance further gained momentum in 4Q20, riding on strong domestic travel demand from the festive season and travel incentives from the government.

AirAsia Thailand’s 4Q20 operations exceeded expectations as it surpassed its pre-Covid domestic capacity by 7%.

In December 2020, AirAsia Thailand operated 116% of pre-Covid domestic capacity compared to 96% in September 2020.

AirAsia Thailand utilised 70% of its fleet by the end of December. More than 2.8 million passengers were carried during the quarter, an increase of 50% QoQ, resulting in a commendable load factor of 74%.