I am an unashamed fan of budget air carrier AirAsia, but its future is in severe doubt.
The group reported a record US$188 million first-quarter loss as its external auditor cast doubt on its ability to survive the Covid-19 pandemic.
AirAsia shares tumbled after Ernst & Young said its future may be in "significant doubt"'
In a statement to the stock exchange, Ernst & Young said AirAsia's liabilities exceeded its assets even before the pandemic began, Travel Mole reported.
It "indicates existence of material uncertainties that may cast significant doubt on the group's and the company's ability to continue as a going concern." Ernst & Young said.
The airline is exploring various avenues to raise capital including investment and joint venture proposals.
After a promising first few weeks of 2020, "demand collapsed" in February and March. Leading to a 22% drop in passengers.
Most of AirAsia's regional affiliate businesses have resumed limited domestic services, in Malaysia, India, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
"We are gradually adding frequencies and opening routes in the domestic sector, with the advice and regulations from government and health authorities," it said.
"AirAsia has ongoing deliberations with a number of parties for joint-ventures and collaborations that may result in additional third-party investments in specific segments of the group's business," the airline said.
AirAsia is part-owned by colourful chief executive Tony Fernandes and pioneered low-cost air travel across Asia in the early 2000s at a time of growing demand from a fast-emerging middle class.
Fernandes also owns football team Queen's Park Rangers.