AirAsia’s Malaysian operation extends load factor gains

AirAsia continues to match supply more closely with demand, reporting a healthy 4 ppts increase in its Malaysian operation’s load factor to 74% in the three months ended 31-Mar-2010 (1Q2010). After almost two years of load factor falls, AirAsia is bringing capacity levels more into line with demand, calming its pace of growth.

AirAsia RPK and ASK growth (% change year-on-year): 1Q2008 to 1Q2010

The airline carried almost 3.7 million passengers in 1Q2010, up 17.1% year-on-year, while capacity (ASKs) rose 11.1%.

AirAsia passenger numbers (mill) and growth (% change year-on-year): 1Q2008 to 1Q2010

The airline’s stage length rose just 1.1% to 1,174 km, and the number of stages operated rose 11.1% as its Malaysian fleet rose from 44 to 48 aircraft in the period (+9.1%).

The strong growth in demand ahead of supply, thanks to an improving regional economy, produced healthy load factor gains in the first quarter.

AirAsia passenger load factor (%) and growth (ppts change y-o-y): 1Q2008 to 1Q2010

AirAsia reported its 1Q2010 operating data after the market closed on Friday. Its shares closed 2.5% lower on Friday, taking losses over the past month to around 13%, on rising investor concern about the global economic outlook.

AirAsia share price movements over the past month

Elsewhere, Tiger Airways closed 1.7% lower on Friday, while Virgin Blue retraced some its recent losses, gaining 1.2%.

Selected LCCs daily share price movements (% change): 21-May-2010