Thai AirAsia’s parent company posted an operating loss of Bt100 million ($3.14 million) for the whole of 2019, as costs outpaced revenues.

This contrasts with a Bt660 million operating profit in 2018.

Asia Aviation’s revenue for the year ended 31 December 2019 rose 3% to Bt41.6 billion. The company attributed this to a 3% increase in passenger numbers, even as average fares remained flat while load factor was unchanged at 85%.

Expenses were up by 5% to Bt41.7 billion, primarily due to higher costs associated with operating more flights and increased labour costs, the company said in its management and discussion analysis for the year.

Net loss came in at Bt474 million, reversing last year’s Bt70 million net profit.

During the year, revenue per ASK fell 4% to Bt1.49. Unit cost declined 2% to Bt1.55, but excluding fuel, this was up by 3% to Bt1.03.

In its outlook for 2020, Asia Aviation sees the greatest impact from fluctuation in fuel prices, foreign exchange, and interest rates. It also noted that revenue from international routes “remained under pressure” in the fourth quarter of 2019 as the Thai baht appreciated against the Chinese yuan, among other currencies.

Thai AirAsia has since revised its 2020 passenger target downwards to 20.5 million, “to align with the situation of the [coronavirus] outbreak,” alongside a load factor of 84%. To manage the situation, the airline is adjusting flights according to demand, while implementing cost saving initiatives.

Referring to a 10-aircraft deal with Avolon announced in January, the airline says it has completed transactions on four aircraft, with the remaining six to close within the first quarter of 2020.

Separately, Thai AirAsia says it has received its IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certification.

It is the fourth AirAsia Group carrier to pass the safety audit, after Malaysia AirAsia, Philippines AirAsia, and Indonesia AirAsia gained certification in 2018.

This covers eight key areas: corporate organisation and management systems, flight operations, operational control, aircraft engineering and maintenance, cabin operations, ground handling, cargo operations, and operational security.