Bangkok Airways saw its first quarter operating loss widen to B677 million ($21.5 million) from B284 million a year ago, as the coronavirus pandemic continued its relentless pressure on Thailand tourism.

Revenues dived 78.8% to B1.4 billion in the three months ended 31 March, while net losses ballooned to B756 million from B338 million, according to the airline’s results statement.

ATR 72-600 Bangkok Airways

Source: Max Kingsley-Jones / FightGlobal

An ATR 72-600 operated by Bangkok Airways. 

The airline states that Covid-19 is an “unprecedented crisis” for Thailand’s Tourism economy, despite initiatives by the government to relax restrictions for travelers flying for business, medical treatments, or special tourist visas. It noted that tourism arrivals are down 99.7% from a year earlier.

During the quarter Bangkok Airways generated just B286 million in passenger revenue, down from B4.4 billion a year earlier. Capacity as measured by ASKs fell 89.6%, while RPKs fell 80% from the first three months of 2020. Overall load factors for the quarter fell 3.3 percentage points to 58.8%, with the number of flights flown falling 85.6% to 2,464.

RASK rose 41.8% to B4.85, but CASK tripled to B9.17. Passenger yields declined 34.6% to B3.12

The airline had 39 aircraft at the end of the quarter, compared with 40 a year earlier. Utilisation, however, was sharply down from the first quarter of 2020. Overall, its fleet’s block hour per day per aircraft was just 3.5hrs, down from 7.8hrs a year earlier.

As of 31 March, the airline’s cash and cash equivalents stood at B1.5 billion, down from B2.2 billion on 31 December 2020.

Bangkok Airways did not offer a management outlook as to when it expects condition to improve for the carrier, which largely relies on carrying codeshare passengers to tourism destinations from its Bangkok Suvarnabhumi hub.