AIRASIA Group Berhad said its Philippine unit, Philippines AirAsia, Inc., carried 168,527 passengers in the first three months of the year, a 43% increase from the fourth quarter of 2020.
“The higher number of passengers carried positively resulted in an increase in load factor of 10 ppts QoQ (quarter on quarter) to 74%,” the Malaysia-based airline group said in its first-quarter “Preliminary Operating Statistics” report.
The number of passengers carried in the first quarter of this year was 91% lower than in the same period last year, when Philippines AirAsia carried 1,791,244 passengers.
On a month-on-month basis, passengers on Philippines AirAsia increased by 57% compared to February.
In March, the low-cost airline was operating at 30% of its capacity, according to the group.
“AirAsia posted operating improvements in March 2021 for all entities in comparison to February 2021, as countries worldwide focused on accelerating vaccination programmes in efforts to reach herd immunity as soon as possible,” the group added.
Philippines AirAsia announced last month that it had received government approval to transport coronavirus vaccines packed in dry ice.
The company said it was in discussions with different local government units to map out the deliveries.
“Our business model used to be purely air transport. The pandemic made us rethink and reassess areas that are essential. You can be assured that revitalizing the air transportation sector is AirAsia’s commitment to the Filipino people,” Philippines AirAsia Chief Executive Officer Ricardo P. Isla said in a statement.
“Our personnel were subjected to intense technical training, and adequate preparations were also laid out to make sure the human and engineering components of vaccine handling are met, and of the highest standards,” he added. — Arjay L. Balinbin