AirAsia Group Bhd posted a net loss of RM803.85 million for the first quarter ended March 31, 2020 (Q1) compared to a RM96.09 million net profit a year ago.
This is the largest net loss that the low-cost carrier has reported since its listing on Bursa Malaysia in 2004.
The low-cost airline said the net loss was partly dragged down by the wrong hedge against crude oil prices that collapsed in March and hefty sum of depreciation.
AirAsia’s revenue dropped 15.3 percent to RM2.31 billion from RM2.73 billion previously.
Its ancillary revenue fell 16 percent year to RM556 million, dragged by airline ancillary which declined 28 percent mainly due to removal of processing fees and 22 percent less passengers carried.
AirAsia Group president Bo Lingam said it was pleased to see domestic market share gain in three of its Air Operator Certificates (AOC)s, the highest being AirAsia Philippines which was up four percentage points (ppts).
He said Malaysia remained its strongest domestic market at 61 percent market share.
AirAsia Malaysia’s revenue per available seat kilometre (RASK) grew two percent on improved pricing strategy, while AirAsia Indonesia’s RASK increased three percent.
Although AirAsia Philippines saw a dip in passengers carried by nine percent, he said the load factor remained healthy at 84 percent.
“For each of our operating markets, we have restarted operations in phases and are focusing domestically for now, before opening up to Asean and then the rest of Asia when border restrictions are lifted.
“We continuously engage with stakeholders especially local governments and airports, among others, on collective efforts in reviving air travel,” he said.
Bo said since the beginning of domestic operations in late April, the group was encouraged by the increase in load factors week by week.
“We are aiming to increase our flight frequencies to around 50 percent of our pre-Covid operations and we look forward to resuming all domestic routes in the coming weeks and months to cater to the increasing demand.
“Currently, we are operating 365 daily flights across the region. We look forward to the reopening of international borders in recognition of the fact that air transport provides the connectivity that is essential for the resumption of economic activities,” said Bo.
AirAsia Group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said it was positive in the strides it had made in bringing cash expenses down by at least 50 percent this year.
This would make AirAsia even stronger as the leading low-cost carrier in the region, he added.
On the airline operations, Fernandes said the group was encouraged by the strong rebound demand seen since resuming operations in late April 2020 and expects it to continue in the coming months.
He said the group had applied for bank loans in its operating countries to shore up the airline’s liquidity.
“We have also been presented with proposals to raise capital to strengthen our equity base and/or liquidity from a number of investment bankers, lenders as well as potential investors to help the company weather the storm caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“In addition, AirAsia has ongoing deliberations with a number of parties for joint-ventures and collaborations that may result in additional investments in specific segments of the group’s business,” he added. – NST