August 24, 2017 / 10:39 AM / a year ago

AirAsia X reports big jump in quarterly profit on forex gains

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - AirAsia X Bhd (AIRX.KL), Malaysia’s long-haul budget airline, posted a seventh straight quarterly profit which surged largely due to foreign exchange gains and deferred taxes.

FILE PHOTO - An AirAsia X Airbus A340 passenger jet arrives on its inaugural flight from Kuala Lumpur to Paris Orly Airport February 14, 2011. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

The carrier reported a net profit of 47.4 million ringgit ($11.1 million) for the second quarter ended June, versus 1 million ringgit a year ago.

Revenue rose 17 percent to a record 1.04 billion ringgit, from 883.2 million ringgit a year ago.

For the full year earnings were estimated by seven analysts polled by Reuters to be around 193 million ringgit.

The quarterly performance was helped by aircraft leasing income growing 15 percent over the period to 123 million ringgit, mainly due to the depreciation of the ringgit MYR=, while ancillary revenue grew 41 percent from a year ago to 193.5 million ringgit.

Operating performance in the second quarter trended slightly above expectations despite the period historically being a lean travelling season.

Passenger load factor - a measure of how full planes are - improved 5 percentage points to 80 percent, in line with the 26 percent year-on-year growth in available seats per kilometres (ASK) to 8,449 million.

Total passengers carried in the quarter rose 34 percent to 1.39 million.

“The second quarter for AirAsia X Malaysia has seen more ASK capacity injected as compared to the same quarter last year. This was to set the tone for future quarters especially the fourth quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of 2018, both historically strong quarters,” AirAsia X group chief executive Kamarudin Meranun said in a statement late Thursday.

The airline plans to strengthen its position in Australia, the highest revenue contributor to its Malaysian based business, while focusing on the growth opportunities available from North Asia in the second half of this year.

Kamarudin added that the carrier is also streamlining operations with up to 10 percent cost savings.

AirAsia X shares closed unchanged at 0.39 ringgit.

Reporting by Liz Lee; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Elaine Hardcastle

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