Virus causes 25% less passengers for AirAsia X in first quarter

AirAsia X has grounded most of its planes.

PETALING JAYA: AirAsia X, the long-haul budget airline owned by AirAsia, has announced a 25% drop in passengers in the first quarter of 2020, as the low-cost carrier struggles with the disruption in global aviation caused by Covid-19.

In the first three months of this year, it carried 1.14 million passengers against the 1.51 million passengers it carried during the same period last year.

The company said passenger load factor dropped by 9% while the Available Seats per Kilometre (ASK) capacity reduced by 21% from the corresponding period in 2019.

“The significant drop in available capacity and passengers carried is a result of the severe impact of Covid-19 which has affected travel demand globally and as part of the airline’s mitigation strategy, the company has reduced flight frequency around the network and temporarily suspended certain routes.”

Since February, AirAsia X has reduced flights to China, and in March, its capacity was reduced to 90% of its network including Australia, Japan, South Korea and India.

The airline also stopped flying to Wuhan, the epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as other Chinese cities Tianjin and Lanzhou, and Jaipur in India.

The company had announced a “temporary hibernation” of its fleet for a period of two months effective March 28.

It said at the end of March, AirAsia X had 24 Airbus A330 planes.

Meanwhile, its Thailand unit saw a 22% reduction in ASK capacity and has suspended all operations for three months effective March 16.

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