AirAsia parent narrows Q3 loss on strong demand recovery, upbeat outlook

AirAsia planes are seen parked at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Sepang, Malaysia October 6, 2020. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng/File Photo

Nov 30 (Reuters) - Capital A Berhad (CAPI.KL), the parent of Malaysian budget airline AirAsia, reported a narrower third-quarter operating loss on Wednesday, buoyed by a strong rebound in travel demand and the easing of pandemic-related restrictions in Southeast Asia.

It also forecast a positive outlook for the upcoming years on strong sales momentum and reopening of travel restrictions, projecting stronger air passenger traffic in the next quarter.

Capital A posted an operating loss of 563.9 million ringgit ($127.00 million) for the three months ended Sept. 30, compared to a loss of 893 million ringgit in the year-ago period.

It reported a sharp 563% increase in revenue to 1.96 billion ringgit from last year's 295.9 million ringgit.

Earlier, the firm reported it carried 9.9 million passengers in the third quarter, a nearly 2,200% jump from a year ago, boosted by an upsurge in domestic demand and the resumption of international travel in Southeast Asian countries.

"The group is taking all measures possible to return grounded fleet back into service, with a projection of 140 operational aircraft by the end of this year, and full operations by second quarter of 2023," it said in a filing.

The company also plans to combine its AirAsia budget airline business with its long-haul offshoot AirAsia X (AIRX.KL) as part of a corporate restructuring designed to shed its status as a financially-distressed firm, CEO Tony Fernandes said on Tuesday.

($1 = 4.4400 ringgit)

Reporting by Sameer Manekar and Riya Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Janane Venkatraman

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.