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AirAsia flies 100 millionth passenger, says Thai AirAsia
Thursday October 14, 2010
PETALING JAYA: Thai AirAsia, which is 49% owned by AirAsia Bhd, plans to list on Thai bourse latest by the third quarter of next year, said Thai AirAsia chief executive officer Tassapon Biljlveld.
“We hope to list by the end of the second quarter or by the third quarter of next year,” he told reporters yesterday at AirAsia’s celebration for its 100 millionth passenger flown.
Tassapon said the company was preparing for the listing and had not decided on the structure of its proposed initial public offering.
While Thai AirAsia has spoken with the Thai regulator, it has yet to file for a listing or decide on an underwriter.
Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes with AirAsia’s 100 millionth passenger, Irma Dewi from Indonesia.
“Our target will be to have a market capitalisation of some US$500mil to US$550mil (with the listing). But we will decide later on what portion of shares will be up for offer,” he said.
Tassapon said the fund-raising plan to strengthen its financial position would help the airline finance its own planes.
“We currently have 19 planes and will have about 40 in the next three to five years,” he added.
AirAsia Bhd group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said it was unlikely that the low-cost carrier would use aerobridges at the new permanent low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT).
“What would be best is to have some aerobridges in case it rains and we can pay as we utilise it,” he said.
AirAsia has resisted using aerobridges at the temporary LCCT as it seeks to maintain a 25-minute turnaround time and low operating cost.
However, AirAsia utilises aerobridges at international airports. Local airport operator Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) charges RM85 for an aerobridge per flight (one way).
Fernandes maintains that using aerobridges may eat into the airline’s turnaround time, especially with the LCCT being the central hub for the departure of its flights.
“When you have many planes departing in a tight time frame and factoring in the push back of aircraft, using aerobridges can affect the turnaround time,” he said.
He added that AirAsia was currently discussing with MAHB to work out a more attractive scheme that would allow the airline to pass on savings to passengers. “We are trying to get more incentives to cover the next five to 10 years as the airline continues to grow,” he said.
On its financial performance, Fernandes said AirAsia saw a strong third quarter, driven by higher passenger volume, and expects AirAsia to see its best fourth quarter ever.
“Our load factor has been very strong. For the first two weeks of October, it has been about 80%,” he said.
Meanwhile, a decision on the quantum of a dividend payout will be made once the airline’s financial year ends in December, as the AirAsia board deliberates on a proposed dividend policy in its next meeting.
This article is a verbatim copy of the original article from The Star.