The AirAsia family of airlines, consisting of AirAsia Berhad, Thai AirAsia, AirAsia India and AirAsia Japan all saw strong growth in fourth-quarter (4Q) 2018, as well as full-year 2018, ended Dec. 31.

All of the LCC’s six airlines saw a 14% increase in passenger carriage last year, to a combined 74.8 million customers.

AirAsia Berhad’s consolidated AOCs— AirAsia Malaysia, AirAsia Indonesia and AirAsia Philippines—carried a total of 12.1 million passengers in the last three months of 2018, up 16% year on year (YOY). Passenger growth, measured in RPKs, increased 11%, while capacity, measured as ASKs, grew 14% YOY. The rapid increase in capacity caused load factors to slide four percentage points (ppts) to 84%.

Throughout 2018, the consolidated AOC group carried 14% more customers to 44.4 million passengers, with RPK and ASK up 10% and 14% respectively. Similarly, the passenger growth could not keep up with capacity injection, and load factors were down three ppts to 85%.

Within the group, AirAsia Indonesia has one of the better performances. The closure of AirAsia Indonesia Extra saw eight Airbus A320 returning to the main AirAsia Indonesia fleet, which gave the LCC a strong last-minute surge in the last quarter of 2018. With capacity growing by 39%, passenger growth went up by 47%, resulting in 56% more passengers carried, to 1.7 million in 4Q 2018.

AirAsia Philippines also fared well, with RPKs and ASKs both growing 23% in 4Q 2018. The market managed to keep the momentum across all 12 months in 2018, and passenger growth and capacity were up 25% and 28% YOY respectively. In all, AirAsia Philippines served 6.8 million in 2018, up 30% YOY.

Subsidiary AirAsia India had a 48% increase in both its capacity and passenger growth in 4Q 2018. The airline said despite the “aggressive” capacity added, load was up one ppt to 86%, in line with its goal to connect Indian passengers to ASEAN destinations in 2019.

Between January and December, AirAsia India injected 64% in capacity, with passenger growth up 56%.

AirAsia Japan completed its first full year of service in Japan after beginning operations at the end of October 2017. Compared to the same 4Q period, the two aircraft fleet injected 141% more capacity, seeing RPK growth of 152%.

In the whole of 2018, the Nagoya-based subsidiary carried 261,700 passengers, achieving load factors of 80%. AirAsia plans to launch its inaugural international route to Taipei from Feb. 1 this year.

Chen Chuanren, Chuanren@purplelightvisuals.com