Malaysia’s AirAsia swings to loss as FX fluctuations bite

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KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia’s flagship budget airline AirAsia Group Bhd flipped to a loss in its third-quarter, hit by foreign exchange losses and a writedown in the value of currency and interest rate swaps.

It posted on Wednesday a net loss of 51.4 million ringgit ($12.3 million) for the three-month period ended September, from 915.9 million ringgit net profit in the year ago period.

Revenue was 17.5% higher at 3.1 billion ringgit, however.

In a filing to the bourse, it also recorded a depreciation of right of use of asset, and finance costs for lease liabilities during the quarter.

Among its non-airline businesses, travel and lifestyle arm and financial services unit BigPay also recorded wider losses.


Cost per unit during the period rose 11% mainly due to increases in maintenance and overhaul, user charges and other operating expenses.

AirAsia recorded one-off gains in the corresponding period last year from the disposal of its remaining stake in a joint venture with travel platform Expedia Group, Inc. for $60 million, and a 515.4 million ringgit deferred tax asset linked to aircraft disposals during the quarter.

The airline carried 13 million passengers in the three months, 20% higher but load factor — which measures how full planes are — fell 2 percentage points to 84%.

The group said it was positive about its fourth quarter performance, a seasonally strong period. It is also planning a net fleet growth of 18 aircraft, it said.

The airline received delivery of its first fuel-efficient A321neo this month, that will be operated on populous routes and at airports with infrastructure constraints.

AirAsia has hedged 86% of its fuel requirement for the last quarter of the year at average Brent hedge prices of $60.72 per barrel, and 73% of next year’s requirement at $60.22. — Reuters