KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 22): AIRASIA BHD  net profit for the third quarter ended Sept 30, 2011 fell 53.46% to RM152.29 million from RM327.29 million a year earlier, due mainly to higher fuel expense and staff costs.
The airline said on Tuesday that revenue for the quarter rose 9.87% to RM1.08 billion from RM979.71 million in 2010.
Earnings per share for the quarter fell to 5.50 sen from 11.90 sen in 2010, while net assets per share was RM1.43.
For the nine months ended Sept 30, AirAsia’s net profit fell 42.89% to RM428.49 million from RM750.33 million in 2010, despite posting an increase in revenue to RM3.2 billion from RM2.78 billion.
Reviewing its performance, AirAsia said its aircraft fuel expense in 3Q2011 rose to RM421.22 million from RM290.42 million a year earlier, while staff costs rose to RM126.29 million from RM91.26 million.
Meanwhile, its revenue growth was supported by 8% growth in passenger volume while the average fare was 4% higher at RM180 as compared to RM173 achieved in 3Q10, it said.
AirAsia said the group’s cash from operations was RM130.3 million, compared to RM216.1 million in the immediate preceding quarter ended June 2011.
Net cash flow in the quarter amounted to RM218.6 million outflow, as cash flows from investing and financing activities exceeded operating cash flows, it said.
On its prospects, AirAsia said that based on the current forward booking trend underlying passenger demand in the final quarter for the Malaysian, Thai and Indonesian operations remains positive.
Load factors achieved in the month of October were in line with the prior year in Thailand and slightly below in Malaysia and Indonesia, with average fares higher in all three countries, it said.
In Malaysia, forward loads for the remaining months of the third quarter are ahead of the prior year with base fares slightly lower, in line with the Company strategy to increase load factors, it said.
“Passenger numbers are expected to remain strong for the rest of the year which is the strongest quarter for the Malaysian operations.
“The current floods in Thailand are expected to have a minimal impact affecting only the Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok sector,” said AirAsia.
The low-cost carrier said in Thailand, demand was expected to remain strong in the fourth quarter, adding that despite the current situation the final quarter of 2011 was still expected to provide a strong end to the year.
Meanwhile, it said that in Indonesia the recent phasing out of the remaining Boeing 737 aircraft would increase efficiency, lower unscheduled maintenance costs and lower fuel consumption, which was expected to translate into improved financial performance.
AirAsia said the outlook for the final quarter of the year should be seen in the context of the current high price of oil and aviation fuel.
“Fuel surcharges, introduced during the third quarter of the year have mitigated, but not fully offset, the effect of higher fuel prices.
“However, barring any unforeseen circumstances, the directors remain positive for the prospects of the group for the final quarter of 2011,” it said.