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AirAsia X, the long haul, low fare affiliate of AirAsia, has reported a record load factor in its first quarter of 2012.

AirAsia X carried 0.69 million passengers, a growth of 7.5% over the same quarter in 2011. This exceeded a capacity increase of 5.5% to 4.5 billion Available-Seat-Kms (ASKs), which was achieved with the same aircraft fleet of 9 Airbus A330s and 2 Airbus A340s, and tempered by the suspension of flights to Mumbai in February, and Delhi, Paris and London at the end of May.

In terms of passenger traffic, AirAsia X grew by 12.4% to 3.9 billion Revenue-Passenger-Kms (RPKs) for Q1-2012, resulting in a record-breaking quarterly load factor of 87%. This is an increase of 6 percentage-points from the same quarter last year, where it registered a load factor of 81%.

AirAsia Xs core markets in Australia, Greater China, and North Asia continues to deliver strong passenger growth, with continued positive increases in load factor, validating the airlines strategy of rebalancing its network from Europe and India towards Australia and North Asia.

Our continued growth points to a clear positive demand trajectory for 2012 compared to 2011, despite the continuous higher and more volatile fuel prices and uncertain global economies and competition. The airlines strategy is to establish an optimal network where there is scale, focusing on its core markets where AirAsia X is in a position of strength, said Azran Osman-Rani, CEO of AirAsia X. We are confident we will keep growing into the second half of 2012, where we have new enhanced innovation and ancillary offerings. AirAsia X has improved its Fly-Thru connecting transfer service to more attractive destinations with better flight connectivity options across South East Asia and beyond. The airline recently increased flight frequencies from Kuala Lumpur to popular holiday destinations such as Ho Chi Minh (4 x daily), Bandung (4 x daily) and Singapore (13 x daily).

Cargo operations on the other hand were affected by the discontinued India routes, with AirAsia X carrying 7,407 tonnes of freight for its current quarter, registering a 11% decrease from a year ago. However, due to strong improvement in yields, cargo revenue increased by a double digit in the first quarter of 2012 compared to the first quarter in 2011.

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