2-27-18 7:31 AM EST | Email Article

By Yantoultra Ngui


KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia--Malaysian budget airline AirAsia Bhd. (5099.KU) is looking to more than double its current fleet of narrowbody aircraft from 200 currently to 500 by 2027, Chief Executive Tony Fernandes said on Tuesday.

Asia's largest low-cost airline by passenger numbers is optimistic about the growth potential of low-cost air travel and the potential of its fares to stimulate and grow new markets, Mr. Fernandes said in a statement after the release of the company's 2017 earnings results.

The budget airline announced a 19.9% drop in its fourth-quarter net profit compared with a year ago, due to current and deferred taxation charges, higher operating expenses and finance costs. Nevertheless, the results beat estimates polled by Eikon.

Moving forward, AirAsia will continue to grow its market share in Southeast Asia, with Vietnam as the final piece of the puzzle to complete its regional connectivity, Mr. Fernandes said.

The airline will soon conclude the sale of its aircraft leasing business, Asia Aviation Capital, he added. AirAsia has been planning to sell all or part of Asia Aviation Capital since 2016. A deal could result in special dividends for shareholders, equity analysts had previously said.


Write to yantoultra.ngui@wsj.com


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 27, 2018 07:31 ET (12:31 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2018 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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