AirAsia recorded a sharp rise in passenger traffic in the first quarter of 2016.
The group’s short-haul airlines in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, India and the Philippines carried a combined total of 13.94 million passengers in the first three months of the year, up 17% compared with Q1 2015. This far exceeded the 6% expansion of the group’s seat capacity, allowing its average load factor to surge nine percentage points to 86%.
Much of this growth was driven by AirAsia’s largest unit, in Malaysia. Traffic on the Kuala Lumpur-based low-cost carrier jumped 17% to 6.48m passengers in Q1, while load factors increased 10 points to 85%. Thai AirAsia also performed well, with passenger numbers surging 18% to 4.37m and load factors up five points to a strong 88%.
Despite a 10% reduction in seat capacity, Indonesia AirAsia managed to achieve a 2% rise in passenger traffic, to 1.17m, and a nine-point jump in load factors to 80%. But the Jakarta-based airline’s position as AirAsia’s third largest unit is now under threat from Philippines AirAsia, which increased its passenger numbers by 15% to 967,600 and saw its average load factor jump 10 points to 87%.
Finally in India, AirAsia’s fledgling LCC carried 538,800 passengers and achieved an average load factor of 86%.
AirAsia is planning to launch its sixth short-haul subsidiary this year, with AirAsia Japan expected to commence flights from Nagoya in the coming months. At the end of March 2016, the group’s fleet totalled 170 Airbus A320 aircraft.