Friday, May 29, 2009

Budget carrier AirAsia's profit jumps 26 percent

28 May 2009

Budget carrier AirAsia said Thursday its net profit surged 26 percent in the first quarter from a year ago, reflecting the success of its aggressive network expansion amid the global economic slump.

AirAsia rebounded from two straight quarterly losses to a record a profit of 203.2 million ringgit ($56.4 million) for the quarter through March, it said in a statement.

Revenue increased 33 percent to 714 million ($198 million), buoyed by a sharp rise in passenger volume and increased contribution from ancillary income, it said.

"AirAsia once again delivered record profit growth despite operating in one of the most challenging economic environments," Chief Executive Tony Fernandes said in a statement.

He said the airline carried 3.15 million passengers during the period, up 21 percent from a year ago, showing that it had successfully stimulated the market to seize share from competitors.

AirAsia accounted for 44 percent of passenger traffic at Malaysia's main airport during the quarter.

"We're adding routes, increasing frequencies, hiring more staff, enhancing our capabilities and growing our airline...our strategy to continuously conduct aggressive promotions and enhance customer service has been successful in driving strong traffic growth," he said.

AirAsia said it expects passenger growth of 15 to 20 percent this year despite the economic crisis. In 2008, it carried 11.8 million passengers, up 22 percent from a year ago.

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