Malaysia’s AirAsia 2009 profit at record high
AirAsia, Asia’s largest low-cost carrier by fleet size, reported its best ever yearly profit ever as the economic crisis of the past year boosted demand for cheaper air travel.
The airline industry suffered last year under the weight of the global economic recession, which caused businesses to cut their travel budgets, but some recovery is under way.
“Based on the current forward booking trend, the underlying passenger demand in the first quarter remains positive,” said the Malaysia-based airline in its earnings notes posted on the stock exchange website.
Flag carrier Malaysia Airlines signalled on Monday a cautious earnings outlook for 2010 after derivative gains on its fuel contracts helped bump up full-year net profit.
AirAsia, valued at $1.2 billion, posted a net profit of 76.7 million ringgit ($22.54 million) in October-December against a loss of 201.7 million ringgit in the previous year.
It booked a full year net profit of 549 million ringgit, largely in line with the 561.1 billion ringgit consensus estimate of 17 analysts tracked by Thomson Reuters Starmine.
The budget carrier, which competes with Jetstar Asia Airways and Tiger Airways in the region, reported a net loss of 471.7 million ringgit in 2008.
The aviation industry is rebounding from a slump but still faces at tough outlook for 2010, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said last month.
AirAsia commands 53 percent of the domestic travel market and 21 percent of international travel in Malaysia.