Asia Aviation shares surge on air travel rebound, while undergoing bankruptcy

Shares in Asia Aviation Plc (AAV), the parent of Thai AirAsia X Airline, jumped on Thursday after the management signaled a rise in air traffic as the Covid-19 pandemic receded, despite facing bankruptcy.

AAV jumped by 5.63 per cent from its prior closing to 3 baht as of the morning session, trading at its highest in more than a month. 

With sentiment on domestic and international passenger volume, shares in Bangkok Airways Plc (BA) and Airports of Thailand Plc (AOT) also rose by 3.77 per cent to 11 baht and 0.72 per cent to 70 baht, respectively.

“More flights will be added in October,” said Thai AirAsia X director Tassapon Bijleveld, targeting routes to Japan and South Korea. “And if China opens up the country, the aviation market will return swiftly.”

Tassapon said the airline will continue to operate flights as usual while filing for rehabilitation with the Central Bankruptcy Court. The court approved the airline’s petition on May 17 and will have a creditors’ hearing in August.

If creditors agree to the bankruptcy filing as planned, the airline may finish the restructuring by the third quarter of 2023, Tassapon remarked.

Despite higher ticket fares due to rising fuel costs, Air Asia X believes it will see strong demand from both Thai and international travelers in the high season at year-end. 

“Fares are still determined by demand and supply,” Tassapon added. He expects to serve 300,000 passengers this year, still below 2 million before the Covid-19 epidemic. 

AAV incurred operational losses of 2.37 billion baht in the first quarter this year. The airline booked full year losses of 6.65 and 4.76 billion baht in 2021 and 2020, respectively. 

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