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Thai AirAsia X’s Optimism Soars Following Profitable First Quarter

Thai AirAsia X anticipates achieving profitability this year by serving nearly 1 million passengers, with a focus on its Japan routes, following a return to profit in the initial quarter.

Tassapon Bijleveld, the airline’s CEO, credited the strong performance to the robust Japan routes, particularly beneficial during off-peak seasons. He highlighted the consistent demand for Japan routes throughout the third quarter, traditionally marked by a decrease in bookings.

Revenue from the airline’s Japanese routes accounts for 50% of total revenue, boasting a load factor exceeding 90%. Additional revenue generators include routes to South Korea and Australia.

Japanese travelers constitute approximately 35-40% of the airline’s total passenger base, predominantly offset by Thai passengers, the majority of whom benefit from the weakened yen, resulting in a reduced travel budget by 20-30%.

Following a pause during the pandemic, Thai AirAsia X is set to resume direct flights to Nagoya from Suvarnabhumi airport starting August, with four weekly flights. The airline will operate 36 weekly flights to four Japanese cities, including Tokyo, Osaka, and Sapporo, anticipating a 15% boost in total revenue from the new routes.

For the year 2024, the airline aims to serve 1 million passengers, equivalent to 90% of the 2019 level, maintaining an average load factor of 85%. The first quarter of this year marked the airline’s first operational profit post-pandemic, surpassing 1 billion baht.

Projected earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) for the end of the year range from 1.5-2 billion baht. Plans include opening 2-3 new routes within the year, with a focus on potential European destinations, Melbourne in Australia, as well as investigating additional cities in Japan.

Despite strong market demand for flights to Phuket from Kazakhstan, the airline faces aircraft constraints that may not align with Thai AirAsia X’s current fleet. Presently, the fleet consists of seven A330s, with four additional aircraft slated for delivery, with expectations to operate 15 aircraft by 2025.

The exit from rehabilitation plans is scheduled by year-end, accompanied by a fundraising target of 1 billion baht from investors to support expansion initiatives. Tassapon holds a 48.6% stake in Thai AirAsia X, with AirAsia X Berhad holding 49% and Thai investors maintaining around 2% ownership.

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