Malaysia Airlines will miss its target to return to profit in 2018, and has warned that next year looking equally challenging.

In a business update for quarter ended 30 September, the carrier says it expects to finish 2018 “by reducing the losses of the previous year”.

“Malaysia Airlines experienced a challenging third quarter with stiff competition, rising fuel prices and adverse foreign exchange movements, further exacerbated by crew shortages, especially in July and August,” it adds.

During the three months, the airline carried 3.47 million passengers, and saw load factor climb three points to 80.5% and says that it saw a recovery in its international business.

RASK climbed 1.4% to 21.2 Malaysian sen ($0.05), driven largely by higher cargo revenue, but passenger yield dropped 4.9% to 21.5 sen, partly due to the revenue impact from its inability to upgrade to widebody aircraft on certain routes as a result of crew shortages.

It added an A330-200 to its fleet during the three months.

It expects the crew situation to stabilise by early 2019, following an extensive recruitment programme and “aggressive” cadet enlistment and training.

“Moving forward, 2019 looks similarly challenging but we remain committed to improving performance and reducing costs whilst managing external factors beyond our control,” says chief executive Izham Ismail.

Source: Cirium Dashboard