AirAsia X asks to put off aircraft lease payments.

AirAsia X leases 17 A330-300 aircraft from nine lessors. While the majority of lessors have one or two aircraft each flying under AirAsia X colors, BOC Aviation and ICBC Leasing have three aircraft each at AirAsia X.

The original report broke in Flight Global yesterday. Flight Global cited information from Cirium. According to Cirium, aircraft lessors have been approached by AirAsia X seeking a deferral of lease payments.

Simple Flying has approached AirAsia X to confirm this. They declined to address our questions, citing a blackout period pending release of the latest financial information later in February.

However, the FlightGlobal report refers to a variety of lessors who say they are willing to talk to AirAsia X. But the leasing companies are not, as one put it, a soft touch.

One unidentified lessor says they value their relationship with AirAsia X. However, the depth and breadth of that relationship do not extend to, say, letting the airline skip lease payments for three months.

AirAsia X is the long-haul sibling airline to AirAsia. AirAsia X has been around for over 12 years and now flies to 22 destinations around the Asia Pacific rim with its 24 aircraft.

Even before the coronavirus outbreak in January, AirAsia X was encountering financial turbulence. The airline lost nearly USD$39 million in the first half of 2019. This was a ten-fold increase in its loss for the first half of 2018.

Ongoing financial problems at AirAsia X have caused the airline to ask for lease payment holidays before.

The coronavirus outbreak and subsequent downtown in travel demand will deepen AirAsia X's financial woes and is likely behind this latest request from the airline.

AirAsia X is highly reliant on Chinese tourism, dedicating 30% of its available seat capacity to the country. China is usually Malaysia's third-biggest source of tourists. Now flights on nine of AirAsia X's twelve Chinese routes are either suspended or canceled.

Besides China, most of...

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