AirAsia expects stronger Q4 on regional network growth

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AirAsia expects its group financial results to further improve in the final quarter of 2012 as it expands its fleet and route network.

The group will receive 11 Airbus A320s over the next three months - five of which will be deployed to its Malaysia operation, three to Indonesia, two to Thailand and one to Japan.

With the new aircraft, the low-cost carrier plans to strengthen AirAsia Indonesia's hubs in Medan and Surabaya. It will also open a new hub in Makassar to penetrate the market in eastern Indonesia, the group said in its financial report on Bursa Malaysia.

From Makassar, the carrier will launch international services to Malaysia and Singapore, as well as domestic services to the east, central and west of Indonesia.

AirAsia has increasingly focused on the Indonesian market, challenging local low-cost carrier Lion Air. AirAsia Indonesia also reported a revenue of rupiahs (Rp) 1.2 trillion ($125 million) for the third quarter, up by 12% from the same period in 2011. It attributed this to an 8% year-on-year increase in passenger volume.

In the Philippines, the group intends to add routes to serve Singapore and Taipei from Clark airport. Philippines AirAsia will also rationalise domestic routes and frequencies to Kalibo and Davao.

"Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the directors remain positive for the prospects of the group for the final quarter of 2012," AirAsia said.

AirAsia posted a third quarter net profit of ringgit (M$) 158 million ($51.6 million), up by 4% year on year.