AirAsia and its medium-haul sister unit AirAsia X have a positive outlook for 2024, citing factors such as fleet recovery, lower fuels costs, as well as robust international travel demand. 

The outlook comes as the two companies – owned by Malaysia-based Capital A – were profitable in the year ended 31 December 2023, on the back of travel recovery, as well as an uptick in ancillary revenue. 

Airasia A320neo

Source: Greg Waldron/FlightGlobal

An AirAsia A320neo at Langkawi in May 2023

AirAsia X chief Benyamin Ismail says the airline’s “key performance metrics have been very encouraging” in 2023, even amid concerns that pent-up demand could subside.

“The future is looking bright with our forward aircraft orders bringing additional new specification aircraft into our fleet which will truly revolutionise our model for medium to longer-haul air travel,” says Ismail, referring to AirAsia’s big orderbook, which includes Airbus A330neos and A321XLRs. 

Meanwhile, AirAsia Aviation group CEO Bo Lingam says the group is “confident” of another year of “historic highs for our airline business”. AirAsia, which has units in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, disclosed a positive full-year EBITDA of MYR1.8 billion ($380 million). In the quarter ended 31 December, AirAsia posted an EBITDA of MYR504 million, about 25% higher year on year. 

Lingam notes that while the airline group has yet to fully restore capacity, its revenues are tracking higher than pre-pandemic levels. The group reported a full-year revenue of around MYR13.7 billion, with fourth-quarter revenue more than double the year-ago period at MYR4.6 billion. 

“In 2024, our goal is to recover 90% of [2019] capacity, setting the stage for future growth. We anticipate further upside in ancillary income as we enhance our product offerings, personalisation efforts and dynamic pricing strategies. The anticipated decline in fuel prices would give us opportunities to reduce cost and improve margins,” he adds. 

AirAsia X recorded a full-year EBITDA of MYR662 million, with revenue up more than three-fold year on year to MYR2.5 billion. It carried 2.8 million passengers in 2023, a significant jump from 2022’s 417,195 passengers. 

Ismail says the airline now has close to 90% of its A330 fleet operational, and is looking to fully reactivate its grounded fleet by the first half of the year. 

He adds: “[This is] well aligned to maximise the upside the market has to offer in our core markets in the seasonally busiest travel period.” 

The two carriers in January announced they have entered into a non-binding agreement over a potential merger into a single airline entity. Capital A would divest its aviation interests to AirAsia X, and the new company will operate a single AirAsia brand.