BANGKOK, 13 May 2019: Asia Aviation Plc (AAV), the majority stakeholder in Thai AirAsia reports operational results for the first quarter that registered a revenue of THB11,623 million and a net profit of THB 497 million.
The airline also maintained a strong average load factor to the same period last year at 90% for the period January to March.
Overall in Q1/2019, Thai AirAsia served 5.86 million passengers, up 4% year-on-year and in line with the 5% year-on-year increase in its capacity.
At the close of the quarter the airline had a fleet of 62 aircraft and launched its seventh Thailand flight hub in Chiang Rai. It introduced three international routes to Macau, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore and a domestic route to Phuket from the far north province.
At the start of the second quarter the airline introduced in April, three more international routes to Vietnam; two from its main base of Don Mueang to Can Tho, Don and from Chiang Mai a service to Danang in central Vietnam.
It also launched two routes to Cambodia including Don Mueang-Sihanoukville and Phuket-Phnom Penh and a new route to Ahmedabad in India from Don Mueang Bangkok.
Asia Aviation Plc. and Thai AirAsia Co., Ltd chief executive officer Santisuk Klongchaiya said that “Thai AirAsia continued to recover from the effects of heightened world fuel prices in Q1/2019 with support from Thailand’s recovering tourism industry, which was fostered by an extended visa on arrival fee waiver by the government for citizens of 20 countries and 1 territory.”
For 2019, the airline is targeting 23.15 million passengers and an average load factor of 86% in 2019, as well as, to grow its fleet to a total of 63 by the end of this year. All of the objectives should result in Thai AirAsia performing strongly this year.
As for the airline’s seventh hub in Chiang Rai, it remains to be seen if it will survive the remainder of the low-season months and still be intact when the peak season starts in November.
Airlines have taken a big hit in load factors on flights to and from Chiang Rai, due to the three-month smog crisis which now threatens to become an annual calendar fixture. As it is highly unlikely the smog crisis will be resolved any time soon, North Thailand’s tourism business faces an annual three-month smog season, when for health reasons travellers will be advised to stay well clear. The no-go season will probably run from as early as 15 February to around 15 May, based if this year’s benchmark performance.
This state of affairs will ultimately play havoc on airline performance and for the hotel industry across the six provinces in North Thailand. They will have to recognise the standard business year in the north has now been cut by a quarter. They are virtually left with a nine-month fiscal year.