AirAsia moves into profit as leisure travellers flood flights

Marion Dakers
BUDGET airline AirAsia yesterday posted bumper quarterly profits of £46.4m after tax thanks to a surge in leisure travel, but remained coy about plans for an initial public offering of its Thailand operations.

The group credited its success to a 17 per cent rise in passenger numbers to 3.7m during the first three months of 2010, despite recent violence in one of its hub cities, Bangkok.

Tony Fernandes, the group’s chief executive, refused to be drawn on the likelihood of an IPO, saying only that AirAsia is “constantly reviewing, re-evaluating and restructuring” its internal operations. “We are determined to stay ahead of the competition through constant innovation and wider use of technology,” he said.

Asia’s biggest low-cost airline already trades on the Bursa Malaysia Stock Exchange.

Head of Thai operations Tassapon Bijleveld said on Monday it was considering an additional flotation on the Stock Exchange of Thailand, but did not elaborate.

Revenues rose 10 per cent year-on-year during the quarter to £181.9m. The Indonesian arm of the group posted its first ever profits thanks to a 37 per cent jump in revenue.