TAA surges to 23% rise in net profit

Asia Aviation Plc (AAV), the major shareholder in Thai AirAsia (TAA), reported a 22.7% increase in the airline's fourth-quarter net profit to 744.4 million baht thanks to the no-frills carrier's strong performance.

TAA posted a 28.5% rise in revenue in the quarter, carrying 24.8% more passengers than in the same period in 2011.

Tassapon Bijleveld, chief executive of both AAV and TAA, yesterday attributed the airline's shift of its main base from Suvarnabhumi airport to Don Mueang last Oct 1 for contributing to the positive outcome.

TAA is 55% owned by the SET-listed AAV and 45% by AirAsia Bhd of Malaysia.

For all of 2012, TAA recorded 19.8% growth in revenue to 19.3 billion baht, with pre-tax profits of 2.13 billion, up by 5.5%, as the airline started paying tax for the first year.

Last year's average load factor increased by 2 percentage points to 82% with 8.3 million passengers carried, a year-on-year increase of 20.9%.

TAA's full-year earnings were 15.6 billion baht, driven by the gain on fair value of equity interest in the second quarter of 14.7 billion.

As a result, AAV's earnings per share jumped to 3.44 baht last year from 25 satang in 2011.

Five additional Airbus 320 jets joined TAA's fleet last year, while the airline added nine new routes to its network.

Mr Tassapon said TAA would continue to expand rapidly this year by taking delivery of seven more A320s and boosting frequencies in main markets within Thailand and in Indochina and southern China.

Earlier this month, the boss of Thailand's largest low-cost carrier spoke about boosting its passenger volume this year by 20% to about 10 million while strengthening its share in the domestic air travel market to 50% from last year's level of 37%.

About the author

Writer: Boonsong Kositchotethana
Position: Deputy Editor Business