KUALA LUMPUR: Capital A Bhd, the parent of Malaysian budget airline AirAsia, reported a narrower third-quarter operating loss today, buoyed by a strong rebound in travel demand and the easing of pandemic-related restrictions in Southeast Asia.

It also forecast a positive outlook for the upcoming years on strong sales momentum and reopening of travel restrictions, projecting stronger air passenger traffic in the next quarter.

Capital A posted an operating loss of RM563.9 million for the three months ended Sept 30, compared to a loss of RM893 million in the year-ago period.

It reported a sharp 563% increase in revenue to RM1.96 billion from last year's RM 295.9 million.

Earlier, the firm reported it carried 9.9 million passengers in the third quarter, a nearly 2,200% jump from a year ago, boosted by an upsurge in domestic demand and the resumption of international travel in Southeast Asian countries.

“The group is taking all measures possible to return grounded fleet back into service, with a projection of 140 operational aircraft by the end of this year, and full operations by second quarter of 2023,“ it said in a filing.

Capital A also announced that it is seeking an extension of time from Bursa Malaysia Securities to submit a holistic regularisation plan to remedy its Practice Note 17 (“PN17”) status. The group expects to announce the finalised regularisation plan to Bursa Securities in January 2023 followed by submission for approval targeted in February 2023.

This follows Capital A’s recent announcement that it is engaging RHB Investment Bank Bhd, BDO Consulting Sdn Bhd, Deloitte Corporate Advisory Services Sdn Bhd, Ernst & Young PLT, Adnan Sundra & Low, and Providence Strategic Partners to advise on its regularisation plan.

The company also plans to combine its AirAsia budget airline business with its long-haul offshoot AirAsia X as part of a corporate restructuring designed to shed its status as a financially distressed firm, CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said on Tuesday. – Reutersm Bernama