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Malaysia's AirAsia X asks for creditor help as losses deepen

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 26 (Reuters) - AirAsia X Bhd needs creditors’ support to ride out the coronavirus crisis, the Malaysian long-haul budget airline said on Wednesday, as it posted a quarterly loss and revenue plunge.

The company reported a net loss of 305.2 million ringgit ($73.2 million) for the April-June quarter versus a net loss of 207.1 million ringgit a year earlier.

Revenue tumbled 91% to 91.4 million ringgit, it said in a bourse filing, as air travel was almost brought to a halt by restrictions to control the COVID-19 pandemic.

AirAsia X said it continued to face severe liquidity constraints, and to seek payment deferrals and concessions from suppliers, lessors and lenders. It will also implement further payroll cuts in the next month.

It said its ability to continue in business depended on a gradual resumption of scheduled flights in early 2021 and a return to profitability, contingent on support from aircraft lessors, maintenance service firms and financial institutions.

Its parent, AirAsia Group, reported its largest quarterly loss on Tuesday. But it said its overall airline business had stabilised during the quarter, mainly supported by domestic services that are separate from AirAsia X.

AirAsia X said that in the current uncertainty over the lifting of border restrictions, it had stopped selling tickets for future travel dates. Its aircraft fleet remains grounded, apart from a limited number of cargo and charter flights.

“During the quarter the Company operated a total of only 16 scheduled flights, as compared to 4,824 in the same quarter of 2019, and carried a total of 2,291 passengers, as compared to 1,455,052 in the same quarter of 2019,” AirAsia X said.

$1 = 4.1680 ringgit Reporting by Liz Lee; Editing by Mark Potter

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