AirAsia X optimistic as finances improve and passenger numbers rise

AirAsia X Airbus A330
Kittikun Yoksap /

AirAsia X has finally freed itself of its financially distressed status following an appeal. The Kuala Lumpur-based airline has also announced much-improved third-quarter (Q3) earnings on the back of solid passenger recovery.  

The medium-haul, low-cost operator finally had its Practice Note 17 (PN17) status removed on November 22, 2023, according to a stock exchange filing by the airline. PN17 relates to a categorization for Malaysian businesses in financial trouble. AirAsia X had been under PN17 status for over two years.  

In July 2023, the company unsuccessfully applied to shed the categorization. In early November, it lodged a further appeal to Bursa Malaysia (the Malaysian Stock Exchange), citing significant improvements that had been made to its financial performance.  

“AirAsia X was a PN17 company for more than two years, and colossal efforts were made,” said AirAsia X Chairman Mahmood Fawzy. “We completed a debt restructuring exercise amid a global lockdown. Today, we are finally out of the woods against all odds without receiving any financial aid.”   

With PN17 status lifted, the airline says it is “very excited about the new opportunities” in the future.  

In considering potentially lifting the PN17 status, Bursa Malaysia took into account the airline’s overall commercial standing along with its latest financial statement for Q3 2023.   

For the three months to September 30, AirAsia X doubled its operating profit to MYR60.3 million ($12.9 million), as revenue jumped six times over the same period last year to over MYR648 million ($139 million).  

Also, in Q3 2023, AirAsia X saw passenger volume grow more than tenfold to over 807,000, while the airline’s capacity grew around 24% as more aircraft were added or returned to the fleet. 

“Our strategy to enhance the company’s network recovery and strengthen yield in line with demand in our core markets remains a priority,” said Chief Executive Officer Benyamin Ismail.” AirAsia X is pleased to share that over the past 12 months, all key business performance metrics continued to exceed expectations, even as travel demand has normalized after the initial boom resulting from pent-up demand.”  

With its current fleet of 17 Airbus A330-300s plus an outstanding order for 15 A330-900neos, the airline can now concentrate on looking for future opportunities for its fleet of planes.  

The airline will soon be launching flights to Almaty (ALA) in Kazakhstan, the carrier’s first destination is Central Asia point, and the airline is also looking at how best to tap into “the massive potential China has to offer as the country’s international travel traffic gathers momentum,” according to the airline. 

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