AirAsia Bhd, which reported 111 per cent surge in net profit for financial year 2010, said today it may have to impose a fuel surcharge if oil prices remained high.
Its Group Chief Executive Officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said the outlook must be seen in the context of the recent sharp rises in oil and aviation fuel, which have resulted from events in the Middle East.
Crude oil prices topped US$100 a barrel following the political unrest in OPEC-member Libya and concerns that the turmoil could spread to other oil producers in the region.
"AirAsia will continue to monitor oil price movements and the introduction of a fuel surcharge cannot be discounted if the current price is sustained or rises further," he said during a conference call with analysts today.
"Load factors achieved in January were ahead of the previous year for all three carriers, and there are continued improvements in yield compared to the previous year," he said.
In Thailand, Fernandes said, AirAsia would deliver a strong first quarter with high load factors due to the peak season for tourist arrivals.
A new hub in Chiang Mai commenced operations in January and is operating new routes which are performing well, he said. "The second quarter in Thailand is expected to be significantly better than the previous year, a result of political stability and improved demand," he said.
On Indonesia, Fernandes said the next two quarters would remain strong, with more international destinations planned from the Medan Hub in the first quarter of this year.
"Abolition of the travel tax for Indonesians flying abroad, which took effect on Jan 1, 2011, has boosted international sectors. Additional frequencies are planned for the second quarter to cope with the demand," he said.
AirAsia will take delivery of three A320 aircraft in the first quarter of this year, one of the aircraft will operate in Thailand and two in Indonesia.
Fernandes said the new aircraft would be used to replace the B737s and would provide additional capacity across the network. Six new routes are being planned across the network in the first quarter in conjunction with additional frequencies on existing routes, he said.
On AirAsia's financial performance, its pre-tax profit for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2010 jumped 77 per cent to RM1.1 billion from RM622.3 million in the same period in 2009.
Revenue rose by 26 per cent to RM3.99 billion from RM3.18 billion in 2009, supported by 13 per cent growth in passenger volume and average fare, which rose by five per cent to RM177 from RM168 in 2009.
Its net profit surged 111 per cent to RM1.07 billion from RM506.3 million. For the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2010, AirAsia's pre-tax profit grew by 74 per cent to RM390.22 million from RM223.75 million.
Its revenue rose 33 per cent to RM1.19 billion from RM894.1 million while the net profit jumped 835 per cent to RM316.5 million from RM33.9 million.
Revenue growth for the quarter under review was supported by 11 per cent growth in passenger volume and average fare, which was seven per cent higher at RM188 as compared to RM176 in the fourth quarter 2009. -- Bernama
Source: Business Times, 24 Feb 2011