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AIRASIA (5099): AIRASIA GROUP BHD on steady recovery path

KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia Group Bhd is navigating its recovery phase exceptionally well as key operational metrics improved in December 2020 in comparison to September 2020.

This is shown by the 31% increase notably in passengers carried by AirAsia Thailand (TAA), doubling of passengers carried by AirAsia Philippines (PAA), and the number of passengers carried by AirAsia Indonesia (IAA), which multiplied by a whopping 11 times.

In a statement, the group said AirAsia Malaysia (MAA) closed the fourth quarter with 834,934 passengers carried on a healthy 72% load factor, despite the setback in October and November given the re-implementation of interstate travel restrictions.

It said that following the easing of restrictions in December, strong pent-up demand positively translated into an immediate pick-up in domestic travel.

“For the full year, 2020 was a year of resilience for all four air operator’s certificates (AOCs), as each entity worked hard to overcome the ongoing challenges and together carried 23 million passengers.

“By December, the four AOCs recovered close to 60% of pre-Covid domestic capacity, ” it said.

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.

According to AirAsia, IAA posted a strong rebound in the fourth quarter of 2020, with the number of passengers carried more than quintupled quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q) to 389,283 passengers, while load factor improved to 59%, up 10 percentage points (ppts) from the third quarter of 2020, as more flights resumed and travel restrictions eased.

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

“The group is encouraged by the strong rebound in demand and expects IAA to fully recover to its pre-Covid domestic capacity in the first quarter of 2021, ” it said.

As for PAA, the group said it carried 117,948 passengers in the fourth quarter of 2020 and reported a load factor of 64%.

“On a month-on-month basis, PAA’s number of passengers carried doubled while domestic operating capacity increased by five ppts to 13% in December as compared to September.”

Meanwhile, it said TAA’s performance further gained momentum in the fourth quarter of 2020, riding on strong domestic travel demand from the festive season and travel incentives from the government.

“TAA’s fourth-quarter 2020 operations exceeded expectations as it surpassed its pre-Covid domestic capacity by 7%. In December 2020, TAA operated 116% of pre-Covid domestic capacity, as compared to 96% in September 2020, and 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% q-o-q, resulting in a commendable load factor of 74%.”

AirAsia said the improvements signified a solid domestic rebound for air travel demand across the group’s key operating markets. — Bernama


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