KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia Bhd recorded an operating profit of RM291.06mil (S$113.7 million) in the third quarter ended Sept 30, 2013, a 5 per cent increase from RM277.16mil a year ago.
The budget carrier's net operating profit was at RM201.11mil in the quarter under review, a marginal increase compared with RM201.02mil in the corresponding period last year.
Revenue rose 3.4 per cent to RM1.28bil compared with RM1.237bil a year ago, supported by a 11 per cent growth in passenger volume.
At the same time, the group announced on Bursa Malaysia that the average fare was down 12 per cent to RM169 compared with RM191 achieved in Q3 2012.
"Ancillary income per passenger on-year increased from RM40 to RM41. Seat load factor was at 77 per cent in the same period last year," it added.
"The profit before tax for the period was RM25.1mil compared with RM259.1mil in the same quarter of 2012. Profit after tax for the period was RM35.5mil compared with RM157.8mil in the same quarter of 2012," it said.
The earnings in Q3, 2013 were affected by an unrealised foreign exchange loss on borrowings of RM185.88mil compared with a gain of RM100.83mil a year ago. However, it recorded deferred taxation of RM13.58mil in Q3, 2013.
Among its biggest expenses, aircraft fuel expenses went up from RM473.37mil to RM538.14mil in Q3.
Going forward, the group will take delivery of 12 A320 aircraft in the fourth quarter of the year, which will be deployed in Thailand and Malaysia.
"In the same quarter, five aircraft will be redeployed from Malaysia to the Philippines and four aircraft will be redeployed from Japan, three to Indonesia and one to the Philippines," it said.
For the nine-month ended Sept 30, its operating profit was RM786.17mil, 11.3 per cent higher than the RM706.57mil achieved a year ago. Net operating profit was RM514.59mil, up 6.4 per cent from RM483.44mil a year ago.
Revenue rose 6.9 per cent to RM3.835bil from RM3.587bil but net profit fell 59 per cent to RM198.62mil from RM486.20mil. It recorded an unrealised forex loss of RM346.29mil in the nine-month ended Sept 30, 2013 compared with a gain of RM87mil in the previous corresponding period.
AirAsia's total debt as of end-September 2013 was RM9.2bil. The group's net debt after offsetting the cash balances amounted to RM7.7bil.
The group said for the last quarter, its Malaysia operations forward loads were higher than in the prior year with base fares slightly lower than the prior year.
"Passenger numbers are expected to be particularly strong in November and December during the year-end holiday period and remain strong for the rest of the quarter in line with the seasonal patterns."
In Thailand, demand was expected to be strong in the final quarter of the yearwhile Indonesia AirAsia will continue with network expansion for both domestic and international markets.