Malaysia Airlines (MAS), which is in the midst of fund raising, expects its first quarter financial result due March 31, 2013, to be better than last year, its group chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said.
"The first quarter normally has been a softer quarter traditionally because December tends to see strong travelling activity," he told Bernama in an interview.
As for the full year 2013, he said it was "too early to say" but added that the national was carrier was putting in all the initiatives to achieve the desired results.
Ahmad Jauhari said the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2012 seemed to have had particularly strong results.
"We achieved a load factor of 77.3 per cent," Ahmad Jauhari said, adding that the full financial results will be announced by end of this month.
The airline transported 3.718 million passengers during the quarter of which 1.403 million were domestic and 2.315 million international travellers.
It recorded a load factor of 81.4 per cent for December 2012 alone.
This was also greatly assisted through increased utilisation of the fleet through greater frequencies to some of the most popular regional destinations and faster aircraft turnaround time at airports.
MAS saw a pre-tax profit of RM39.103 million for the third quarter ended September 30, 2012, a reversal from the pre-tax loss of RM461.540 million in the same quarter a year before.
Revenue decreased to RM3.47 billion from RM3.56 billion.
Meanwhile on the airline's rights share issue, Ahmad Jauhari said the issue price will be announced early next month.
Earlier this month, MAS has proposed a capital restructuring and
renounceable rights issue to raise RM3.1 billion.
It would be the fourth part of its funding programme to clean the balance sheet, where it carries accumulated losses of about RM8 billion.
MAS had started with the RM1.5 billion Sukuk programme last year, a short term funding from the banks to bridge aircraft financing and the setting up of the special purpose vehicle to purchase aircraft.
"With all the funding programme, hopefully in place, we should have much stronger balance sheet to finance new aircraft and take advantage of the growth in the region.
"Without a strong balance sheet, we can't procure aircraft efficiently," Ahmad Jauhari said.
The airline company been aggressively replacing fleet because its average fleet age will be about seven years by end of this year.
"This year alone, we will be taking about one 738 every month and that is 12 deliveries with the remaining nine of the 35 to be received by next year.
"In addition, we will receive a total of four new A330s this year with the last one by early next year to complete the 15 firm order."
Last week, MAS received the fifth A380 and will get the sixth one by end of March this year, completing the A380 programme.
The airline's fleet renewal programme started in 2010 for 35 new B737-800 and in 2011 for 15 A330, in addition to the six A380s ordered earlier.
"We have new fuel-efficient fleet. Hopefully, we'll burn less fuel compared with existing aircraft.
"The fuel cost is 38 per cent of operating cost. Any saving in oil is immediate," Ahmad Jauhari said.-- Bernama