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Stiff competition, high costs send Bangkok Airways into Q2 loss

Bangkok Airways slipped into a Bt530 million ($17.2 million) loss in the second quarter as intense competition crimped earnings, exacerbated by higher operating costs.

In contrast, the carrier booked a Bt166 million operating profit last year.

Revenue for the quarter ended 30 June fell by 4.2% to Bt6.08 billion. The bulk came from the passenger segment, which shrank by 3.7% to Bt4.05 billion. This was attributed to slower growth in tourist arrivals to Thailand and a strengthening Thai baht.

Meanwhile, expenses were up by 7% to Bt6.6 billion, on the back of higher fuel prices, and increased expenditure from aircraft leasing, MRO, and labour.

Consequently, attributable net loss jumped more than eightfold to Bt698 million.

The carrier’s operating profit painted a worse picture over the first half of 2019, plunging by 74.2% to Bt340 million. Over the same period, revenue declined 1.4% to Bt13.9 billion, while expenses grew by 6.1% to Bt13.5 billion.

It posted a net loss of Bt190 million for the period, reversing the Bt628 million net profit in 2018.

As at 30 June 2019, cash and cash equivalents stood at Bt4.61 billion, up from the Bt3.95 billion one year before.

RPKs for the six months was down 1.6%, while ASKs declined by 1.5%. This left the overall passenger load factor unchanged at 70.1%, while the number of passengers flown was steady at 3.02 million.

The overall fleet utilisation rate declined slightly to 8.6 hours, as the airline reduced the utilisation of its Airbus jets and raised the use of its ATR 72 turboprops.

Between January and June, the carrier launched Chiang Mai-Luang Prabang in April, and added frequencies on the Chiang Mai-Krabi and Krabi-Bangkok routes, while axing the Phuket-Chiang Mai service in May and cut frequencies on the Bangkok-Phuket and Chiang Mai-Bangkok routes.

As of 30 June, Bangkok Airways had 40 aircraft in its fleet, having added two Airbus A319s and four ATR 72-600s, and phased out four ATR 72-500s during the period.

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