Updated: 02/26/2013 21:07 | By Agence France-Presse

AirAsia profit soars, bullish on outlook

AirAsia, Asia's largest low-cost carrier by fleet size, said Tuesday that its fourth-quarter profit jumped 168 percent year-on-year amid increased passengers.


AirAsia said in a statement that net profit for the quarter ending December 31 stood at 350.65 million ringgit ($114.08 million), up from 130.68 million ringgit in the same quarter the previous year thanks to "a seasonally strong quarter".

Revenue for the quarter was a record 1.41 billion ringgit, up 10 percent, as more people flew the airline, which increased its aircraft in Malaysia to more than 60.

"It has been another good quarter and overall a great year for AirAsia as we continue to defy the industry in terms of operational and financial performance," said Malaysia AirAsia chief executive officer Aireen Omar.

For the full financial year, AirAsia recorded a 238 percent jump in net profit to 1.88 billion ringgit despite a 1.0 percent rise in the average fuel price this year.

Its 2012 revenue increased by 11 percent to 5.0 billion ringgit.

Group chief executive officer Tony Fernandes was bullish about the year ahead as AirAsia expands its model -- no frills and keeping operational costs low.

"The aviation landscape is constantly changing with high fuel prices and new competition, but through all these challenges AirAsia will continue to defend our leadership titles," he said.

AirAsia has grown rapidly since Fernandes, a former record industry executive, bought the failing airline in 2001. It initially had only two aircraft in operation.

The group now has a total fleet of 120 A320s and has set up subsidiary budget carriers in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Japan.

The airline, one of the biggest customers for European aircraft maker Airbus, is expecting 360 more aircraft to be delivered up to 2026.

Last week it announced a new airline joint venture with India's Tata conglomerate.

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