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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        25  February 2011

AirAsia breaks billion-ringgit profit barrier

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LOW COST TERMINAL SEPANG, 24 February, 2011-AirAsia recorded a milestone post-tax billion-ringgit profit in 2010.

Group CEO Tony Fernandes hailed as a "phenomenal achievement" and said, "What a year we've had. Not only did we achieve record profits, but also breached the billion-ringgit mark in net profit (US$326.4 million). With strong cash balances of RM1.50 billion, our gearing levels decreased to 1.75 times as compared to 2.57 times a year ago. The company is in the best position, financially, that it has ever been in - providing a strong foundation for further expansion and growth in 2011."

The yearlong performance was boosted by a fourth-quarter showing that set several new records for AirAsia. Fernandes also emphasised the increased contribution from ancillary income to the company's bottom line, matching AirAsia’s passenger growth.

He said that the growth in ancillary income, in pace with the rising passenger loads, was a strong affirmation of the Company's strategy of looking beyond just air fares to strengthen revenues. "There's still a lot of potential in Ancillary and we're constantly looking to increase the numbers," he said.

Fernandes said the performance by the two affiliates boded well for their potential listing in 2011 on the Bangkok and Jakarta stock exchanges (Thailand AirAsia (TAA) and Indonesia Air Asia (IAA) respectively). "The results speak for themselves. They confirm thatwe are on the right track in terms of our strategy in both Thailand and Indonesia," he said.

On the outlook for 2011, Fernandes said the challenge would be to build on, and exceed, the 2010 performance for the Company. "I am confident we can hold our own. With our plans to further expand our route network and key routes supported with the delivery of eight new Airbus A320 and the opening of three hubs in Kuching, Chiang Mai and Medan, we can position ourselves to emphasize on increasing load factor and yields," he said.

"We have also recently announced our fleet delivery plans for 2012 whereby the group will take delivery of 14 aircraft from the proposed 24 as we adapt to changing circumstances," he said.

Fernandes said the focus internally would be on containing - or even reducing - costs.

The year will also see the potential listing of TAA and IAA. "We're well on track in both Bangkok and Jakarta towards the listing of our affiliates. It's an exciting prospect, and the performance of the two affiliates in 2010 should whet the appetites of investors," he said.

Fernandes also pointed out that another exciting development in store for 2011 was the launching of operations in the Philippines. "AirAsia Philippines should launch its inaugural flights in the second half of the year. We believe there is enormous potential in the Philippines, especially given AirAsia's connectivity in Asean and our low fares," he said.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

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