Losses at Malaysian low-cost long-haul airline AirAsia X have deepened during the quarter that ended in June. The carrier reported a net loss of RM 24.625 billion, up from RM 305 million in the same quarter last year. With passenger traffic almost non-existent, Air sia X was relying on revenues from cargo. AirAsia X losses deepen without scheduled flights.

The carrier reported a RM 24.596 billion operating loss, which compares to RM 377 million in 2020. Revenues dropped from RM 91.4 million to RM 72.3 million. AirAsia X generated no income at all from scheduled passenger flights as these were all affected by travel restrictions and lockdowns and were suspended in April 2020. Revenues from charter services were RM 8.0 million, down from 65.2 million the previous year. Cargo revenues contributed to the result by RM 40.7 million compared to RM 140.2 million last year.

Operating at just a fraction of capacity, staff costs were obviously also down: to RM 4.4 million versus RM 248.3 million. Fuel costs dropped from RM 538 to just 22 million. For the first time, the (unaudited) results cover the financial year from June to June compared to the previous December to December format.

AirAsia X ended the quarter with RM 68.5 million in cash and cash equivalents, down from 307 million at the start of the financial period. It spent RM 431.5 million of net cash on financing activities, including 354.3 million on lease liabilities. The Malaysian airline is engaging with lessors and service providers on payment deferrals and concessions, which at the end of 2019 amounted to RM 877.8 million and RM 894.3 million respectively. It also says it is finalizing an offer from a financial institution to defer principal payments. The airline is seeking a RM 500 million government-guaranteed loan as part of a restructuring plan.

The low-cost long-haul airline has said earlier that post-pandemic, it plans to focus on its core markets with historically proven demand, optimize its network and frequencies, and terminate routes that have been unprofitable. The plan includes a smaller fleet with the return to lessors of leased aircraft and reduce lease rentals. So far, AirAsia X says it has returned one aircraft to a lessor.

AirAsia improved losses to 719.6 million

While losses deepened at AirAsia X, the situation improved at sister airline AirAsia. Earlier in September, it reported a RM 719.6 million net loss compared to RM 1.159 billion in the June quarter last year. Revenues were up to RM 187.8 million from RM 68 million. Including sales from digital products, revenues increased to RM 370.6 million from RM 142.6 million. The carrier ended the quarter with RM 235.6 million in cash and cash equivalents, down from RM 996.1 million. The carrier said in March that it hoped the worst of the crisis was over.

AirAsia is reportedly close to an agreement with Airbus on the deferral and possibly cancelation of part of its orders for A320neo-family aircraft. The majority of these are A321neo’s, of which 349 are backlog with only four delivered so far. AirAsia X has 20 A321XLRs on order plus 78 A330-900s. 

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Richard Schuurman
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Active as journalist since 1987, starting with regional newspaper Zwolse Courant. Grand Prix reporter in 1997 at Dutch monthly Formule 1, general reporter Lelystad/Flevoland at De Stentor/Dagblad Flevoland, from 2002 until June 2021 radio/tv reporter/presentor with Omroep Flevoland.
Since mid-2016 freelance aviation journalist, since June 2021 fully dedicated to aviation. Reporter/editor AirInsight since December 2018. Contributor to Airliner World, Piloot & Vliegtuig. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.

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