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Air Asia X added more A330s after returning from the strong profit of the first quarter

By restoring its fleet to service as soon as possible and introducing new services, AirAsia X has leaped ahead of the demand curve.


The medium-haul specialist AirAsia X is back in the black and headed toward complete financial recovery, much like its sister airlines in the larger AirAsia family. The airline reported a net profit of RM328 million (72.2 million) for the first quarter of 2023, returning shareholder equity to the positive side of the ledger.


It is equally satisfying that AirAsia X has added more planes and filled them, getting ahead of the demand curve even if making money is essential to an airline’s survival. In contrast, despite the region’s high demand for seats driving up ticket prices and impeding the aviation industry’s recovery, several of Asia’s top carriers have taken far too long to restore capacity.


More A330s are returning.


Thank goodness, this is quickly shifting. AirAsia X, which activated two more Airbus widebody aircraft in the first quarter, is benefiting from returning more of its parked Airbus widebody aircraft. There are 22 aircraft in the AirAsia X fleet, including aircraft flown by AirAsia X Thailand, including 20 Airbus A330-300s and two A330-900s.

AirAsia X (AAX) reported operating nine out of its fourteen aircraft as of the end of March, while subsidiary AirAsia X Thailand had five out of eight aircraft in the air. In response to bringing back into service more aircraft, AAX CEO Benyamin Ismail announced yesterday:


Our top goal continues to be making sure more aircraft are activated within the allotted time frame while meeting all safety criteria. In order to add more planes to AirAsia X’s expanding fleet, we have been aggressively interacting with third-party aircraft lessors. We are happy to announce that as of May 2023, AirAsia X’s fleet will consist of 17 aircraft, 11 of which will be operating.

AAX earned RM548.8 million ($121 million) in revenue in the first quarter (1Q23), which is around 50% less than it did in the first quarter of 2019.

AAX was eager to emphasize that shareholder equity changed from a negative RM285.2 million in the previous quarter to a positive RM40.8 million ($9 million) in 1Q23, even though it is still classified as falling under Practice Note 17.


In 1Q23, passenger volume increased to 504,476 and capacity increased to 630,069 seats, resulting in a healthy load factor of 80%. The additional space was required for the resumption of services to Osaka (Japan), Busan (South Korea), and Shanghai (China), as well as greater frequency on the route from Tokyo.

The March reopening in China had little to no impact on the quarter, but AAX is confident it will add more flights because China has long been one of its most lucrative markets.


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