21 May 2019, Tuesday | 07:57am

Thai AirAsia losses mount shares tumble.


File: AirAsia and Nok Air planes seen at Thailand's Don Mueang International Airport

BANGKOK: Thailand’s low-cost carriers saw share prices falling nearly 7% in morning trade in Bangkok on Friday after they reported losses due to tough competition and higher fuel costs.

Asia Aviation Pcl, AirAsia Group Bhd’s partner in Thai AirAsia, reported a loss of 306 million baht (US$9.21mil) for its April-June period versus a profit of 170 million baht a year ago, sending its shares down over 4%.

Losses at rival Nok Air Pcl widened to 830 million baht in the quarter versus losses of 650 million baht a year ago. Nok’s share prices were trading 7% lower.

Despite Thailand’s tourism boom, its airlines have struggled due to higher jet fuel prices, a drop in passengers from off-peak travelling and stiff competition.

The country expects tourist arrivals to reach 37.5 million this year, up 6% from 2017.

Nok Air, the budget arm national carrier Thai Airways International Pcl, saw revenue dropping 1% to 3.35 billion baht.

Thai AirAsia is planning to add more routes between India and Southeast Asia in the next quarter to minimise the risk of depending on a major customer base in the region, the airline said.

“Higher fuel costs have been a challenge with fuel being a major operating cost for any airlines,” Thai AirAsia chief executive Santisuk Klongchaiya said in a statement.

Analysts say tourist seasonality next quarter should help recovery and that plans to introduce a fuel surcharge could partly offset higher jet fuel prices. - Reuters

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