AirAsia chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandez said the results stand in stark contrast to those of most legacy carriers in these troubled economic times

AirAsia chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandez said the results stand in stark contrast to those of most legacy carriers in these troubled economic times

Budget carrier AirAsia said Wednesday its net profit surged 1,378 percent in the second quarter from a year ago, as passengers sought cheaper flights amid the global economic downturn.

AirAsia recorded a net profit of RM139.2 million for the quarter through June, up from RM9.4 million in the same three months of 2008, the airline said in a statement.

Revenue increased 8 percent to RM657 million, buoyed by robust passenger growth and increased contribution from ancillary income, it said. The higher profits were thanks partly to ancillary income from new products and services, which jumped by 89 percent to RM95 million in the latest quarter, according to AirAsia chief executive Tony Fernandes.

“Our results stand in stark contrast to those of most legacy carriers in these troubled economic times,” Fernandes said in a statement.

“While major legacy carriers are cutting flights, grounding planes, retrenching staff and reporting massive losses, AirAsia is, on the contrary, seeing rising demand, adding more routes, increasing frequency and securing higher profits,” Fernandes said.

He said the airline carried 3.5 million passengers during the period, up 24 percent from a year ago, after it lowered fares and boosted its marketing strategies to weather challenges such as travel jitters over swine flu.

AirAsia expects to achieve strong passenger growth in the third quarter, although demand might be affected by the Islamic fasting month, Fernandes said. (The Associated Press)