AirAsia passenger load down 90%

The group posted improvements in key operational metrics in March 2021 compared to February 2021 across all entities

by RAHIMI YUNUS / Pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

AIRASIA Group Bhd’s (AAG) passenger load factor slumped 90% in the first quarter ended March 31, 2021 (1Q21) to 976,968 passengers compared to 9.8 million passengers recorded in the same period last year, based on the aircraft operator’s certificate in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

For January-March 2021, the low-cost carrier (LCC) recorded load factor declined by 10 percentage points (ppts) to 67.

The group, however, recorded improvements in key operational metrics in March 2021 compared to February 2021 across all entities driven by accelerated vaccination rollout worldwide, the group noted in a statement yesterday.

The LCC saw an 84% month-on-month (MoM) increase in passengers carried by AirAsia Malaysia and a 57% increase for AirAsia Philippines.

Similarly, AirAsia Indonesia flew 29% more passengers in March from the preceding month, while AirAsia Thailand has more than doubled its number of passengers.

“AirAsia expects to see solid domestic demand in its key Asean markets in the next few quarters as the majority of the population receives their vaccinations and due to strong pent-up demand,” AAG stated in a release yesterday.

AirAsia Malaysia achieved a 73% load factor in 1Q21, one ppt higher quarter-on-quarter (QoQ), despite a lower number of passengers carried.

In March 2021, AirAsia Malaysia saw load factor improving by nine ppts to 76% as a result of more passengers carried, despite travel demand during the quarter being softened by the lockdown and interstate travel restrictions imposed since January 2021.

“AirAsia Malaysia is optimistic the ongoing inoculation drive in Malaysia will lead to a stronger and sustainable recovery this year,” the group said.

AirAsia Indonesia’s load factor improved by two ppts for March 2021 compared to February 2021, amid the ramping up of public and private inoculations and further easing of restrictions. The airline’s operations remained primarily domestic.

AirAsia Philippines carried 168,527 passengers in the quarter and a 43% increase compared to 4Q20, resulting in an increase in load factor of 10 ppts QoQ to 74%.

The group’s Philippines entity grew its number of passengers by 57% MoM despite only increasing 30% in operating capacity in March 2021 compared to February 2021.

AirAsia’s share price rose 1.19% to 85 sen yesterday, valuing the company at RM3.2 billion.