AirAsia X posted a full-year operating loss of MYR204 million ($50 million) in 2018, reversing last year's operating profit of MYR113 million as flat revenue and higher fuel costs took a hit on the operator.
Revenue for the year fell by 0.4% to MYR4.54 billion. Expenses rose 5.9% to MYR4.78 billion, as higher fuel prices offset lower maintenance and aircraft leasing cost.
The company also turned in an attributable net loss of MYR313 million, compared to a MYR98.9 million net profit last year.
During the final three months of 2018, the budget carrier made an operating profit of MYR33.4 million, a sharp 74% drop from the previous corresponding period.
Quarterly revenue fell 6% to MYR1.15 billion, and that expenses marginally declined by 0.7% to MYR1.12 billion.
During the quarter, ASKs remained flat while RPKs fell 5%. Load factor was down five points to 78%.
As of 31 December 2018 the company had MYR298 million in deposits, cash, and bank balances.
Indonesia AirAsia X made an operating loss of MYR80.9 million in 2018, a sharp jump of 48%. Revenue fell 50% to MYR365 million, and its loss before tax swelled 59% to MYR73.1 million.
Thai AirAsia X's full year operating profit climbed 38% to MYR56.5 million. Revenue was up 30% to MYR1.49 billion, and that its profit before tax jumped 79% to MYR63 million.
Commenting on the group's outlook, chief executive Nadda Buranasiri says 2019 will be focused on ensuring a sustainable growth and profit. While the group will receive five Airbus A330s, including two A330-900s that will be operated by Thai AirAsia X.
Growth for the Malaysian AirAsia X unit will come from maximising utilisation of the existing fleet, and leveraging the group's strategy in launching new routes and adding frequencies.
AirAsia X group expects to reap benefits from lower aircraft leasing rates, and reduced ground handling fees at overseas airports. In line with lower fuel prices, it has hedged half of its fuel requirements for 2019 with an average hedging cost range of $61-$67, thus allowing it to improve its CASK.
Buranasiri also indicated that a listing for Thai AirAsia X is in the pipeline.
"With improved balance sheet and solid forward bookings, as well as AirAsia X Thailand listing in the pipeline, it will provide the necessary cash flow required to continue to strategically expand our network and grow our business as we strive to be the leader in the medium-to-long haul low-cost market," he adds.