AirAsia X announced on Monday (10 August) that its fleet remains in “hibernation” because of the global shutdown of international flights due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The company said in the second quarter its passenger load factor was 38 percent, while the number of passengers carried was recorded at 2,291, which came on the back of flights ferrying cargo with minimal passenger take-up during the month of April 2020. The company’s Available Seat Kilometres reduced to 31 million from 8,442 million during the quarter.
During the second quarter, the company said it maintained only minimal operations in supporting repatriation of travellers as well as freight and cargo services. The total number of sectors flown on charter and cargo basis totalled up to 146 during the period.
AirAsia X Thailand reported a passenger load factor of 82 percent in the second quarter as seat capacity was recorded at 377 and passengers carried totalled up to 309 during the quarter. Similarly with AirAsia X Malaysia, AirAsia X Thailand announced the hibernation of its fleet earlier this year and remains in hibernation to date.
AirAsia X Malaysia’s fleet size stood at 24 A330 aircraft while AirAsia X Thailand’s fleet size remained unchanged at 14 A330 aircraft during the quarter. This brings the total for the AirAsia X Group’s fleet size to 40 A330 aircraft as at the end of 2Q20, which includes 2 aircraft with AirAsia X Indonesia, which has been suspended since 2019.
AirAsia X earlier posted a net loss of 549.7 million ringgit (US$129.6 million) for its first quarter ended March 31, 2020 (1QFY20), the long-haul low-cost carrier’s biggest ever quarterly loss. The loss and the ongoing shutdown in international travel also caused the airline’s auditor, Ernst & Young, to raise a red flag on its financials. The auditor announced to the stock exchange that there may be “significant doubt” over the carrier’s ability to continue as a going concern in respect to its financial position.
The airline’s loss is a contrast to its net profit of 43.33 million ringgit in the previous corresponding quarter. Quarterly revenue shrank 21 percent to 924.1 million ringgit compared to 1.17 billion ringgit last year. Going forward, the airline said it expects to remain in hibernation mode and the prospects of resuming scheduled flights is tied to the recovery in international air travel demand in the coming months hinged on eases in border controls and travel restrictions.
“Despite having no clear visibility on the timing of recovery at this point in time, the company remains confident that demand will pick up towards the end of 2020,” it said. AirAsia X also said it has actively engaged with key stakeholders in the industry, including government ministries, agencies and partner destination countries to mitigate the impact from the temporary downturn in air traffic and prepare for when recovery comes. AirAsia X Malaysia CEO Benyamin Ismail said “the COVID-19 pandemic is without doubt an unprecedented situation for the world and for the travel and tourism industry in general. Amidst the drop in global travel demand, the company remains proactive in implementing measures to cut cost and conserve cash.”