Loss-making MAS sees improved third quarter

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Route rationalisation and capacity cuts helped Malaysia Airlines to record third-quarter pre-tax profit of M$39.1 million ($12.8 million), a vast improvement on the M$461 million loss it slumped to in the same period a year earlier.

For the year to 30 September, operating profit at the Oneworld-bound carrier was M$3.96 million, against a loss of M$191 million the year before.

However, the airline remains in the red for the year. Pre-tax loss for the nine months to end September was M$482 million, albeit an improvement on 2011's loss of M$1.24 billion.

Operating revenue dipped slightly in the third quarter to M$3.34 million, down from M$3.48 million a year ago, and stood at M$9.62 billion for the cumulative year, compared with M$10 billion in 2011.

Passenger airline operations decreased by 4% to M$143 million, mainly due to traffic which fell 9% on capacity trimmed by 7% "through cutting out unprofitable routes".

Falling fuel prices also helped the airline, as jet fuel costs dropped by 9% over the same period last year, says the carrier.

Nonetheless, Malaysia says it expects the rest of 2012 to remain "challenging" with continued fuel price pain and global economic uncertainty.

As a result, it will look to accelerate the implementation of its business plan to increase revenue and yields and reduce costs, it says.

Additionally, the entry into its fleet of its third and fourth Airbus A380s in late November will help it offer "improved products" to its passengers, it says.