Budget carrier losses swelled to P2.3B in Q2
AirAsia Philippines saw losses swell to P2.3 billion in the second quarter of the year as COVID-19 travel restrictions slashed passenger volume by 99 percent during the busy summer period, its latest financial report showed.
The loss marked a reversal from the budget airline’s P353 million in profit during the same period in 2019 and underscored the health crisis’ devastating impact on the aviation sector in the country and abroad.
The second quarter of the year was when the government imposed its strictest lockdown measures across the country to slow the spread of COVID-19.
All regular commercial flights were grounded except for special sweeper and reparation operations.
As a result, AirAsia Philippines’ carried just under 30,000 passengers during the three-month period—a 99 percent drop from 2.25 million last year.
To combat the crisis, AirAsia cut jobs and salaries while reducing other noncore expenses. Along with carriers around the world, it also deferred the delivery of new aircraft on expectations demand for air travel would remain weak.
However, the budget airline pointed to signs of recovery as it continued to open more domestic routes until the end of 2020.
AirAsia Philippines said it planned to bring domestic flights back to 60 percent of their pre-COVID-19 level by the fourth quarter of the year.
AirAsia Philippines is part of the larger AirAsia Group based in Malaysia with units in Thailand, Indonesia, India and Japan.
It also focused more efforts on its financial technology platform, travel partnerships and logistics as it transitions from an airline to what it called an “all-in-one digital lifestyle company anchored on travel.”
Amid questions on its ability to survive the crisis, AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes gave assurances the carrier would have enough cash reserves in the second semester of 2020 until 2021.
In the Philippines, AirAsia has joined other carriers such as Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific in seeking government support through emergency loans and credit guarantees.
“Just like every crisis we have faced before, I remain optimistic that we will come out stronger,” Fernandes said in a statement.
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