Like Malaysian Airline System Bhd (MAS), where AirAsia group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes now has a stake in following a share swap with Khazanah Nasional Bhd last August, AirAsia’s latest quarterly results were also impacted by high fuel costs.
“The outlook for the final quarter of the year (Q4) should be seen in the context of the current high price of oil and aviation fuel,’’ AirAsia said in a filing to Bursa Malaysia yesterday.
“Fuel surcharges, introduced in Q3, have mitigated, but not fully offset, the effect of higher fuel prices,’’ it said.
Average fuel price during Q3 had jumped 41% to US$131 a barrel as compared with US$93 a barrel a year ago.
AirAsia consumed 1.06 million barrels of fuel during the July-September period, which was 3% more than what it had used in the same corresponding period in 2010.
The size of its fleet stood at 54 aircraft as at Sept 30.
AirAsia said revenue growth in Q3 was supported by 8% growth in passenger volume, while the average fare rose 4% at RM180 as compared with RM173 previously.
Ancillary income per passenger year-on-year fell by 14% to RM39 from RM45, but this was due to the exclusion of ancillary income from AirAsia Go.
Seat load factor fell to 77% from 78% in the same period last year.
The airline flew 4.34 million passengers in Q3, while its capacity rose to 5.6 million seats.
“Based on the current forward booking trend, underlying passenger demand in Q4 for the Malaysian, Thai and Indonesian operations remains positive,’’ AirAsia said.
“Load factors achieved in October were in line with the prior year in Thailand and slightly below in Malaysia and Indonesia, with average fares higher in all three countries,’’ it said.
Nine months net profit at AirAsia stood at RM428.5 million, or 15.34 sen a share.
Despite the sharp drop in earnings on a quarterly and year-to-date basis, AirAsia is well on track to at least match the low end target of some analysts’ projection for the full year ending Dec 31, 2011 (FY11).
CIMB Securities, earlier this month, predicted AirAsia will make a net profit of RM539 million in FY11, while RHB Research Institute expects AirAsia’s earnings to be RM617.5 million.