Assessing the financial performance of airlines in the Asia-Pacific region

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In recent years, the aviation industry in the Asia-Pacific region has experienced rapid growth. Despite facing thin and volatile profit margins, the region’s airlines continue to expand their capacity by using high financial leverage, raising concerns of whether they are utilizing such financial leverage effectively and how it affects their stock performance. Using the global Malmquist productivity index and the conditional value-at-risk measure, this study investigates the financial performance of 22 Asia-Pacific-based airlines during 2016–2019. The empirical results reveal that only three full-service airlines were able to maintain continued improvement in financial efficiency during the sample period. The excessive use of financial leverage among low-cost carriers is documented. To assess the sources of financial inefficiency, this study decomposed the global Malmquist productivity index into two components: efficiency change and technical change. The results show that while there was a trend toward efficiency catch-up among the carriers, the number of airlines that demonstrated sufficient technical change declined significantly, indicating the need to implement technological innovation to deliver better financial outcomes. Regarding the airline’s stock return performance, airlines that achieved continuously superior performance in deploying financial resources also saw the lowest downside risk in their stock returns, reinforcing the importance of devoting more attention to indebtedness and the effectiveness with which financial resources are used. The findings of this study offer suggestions to airlines in managing their capital structure and enhancing their financial stability.

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    • Table 1. Background information on airlines in the Asia-Pacific region
    • Table 2. Descriptive statistics of airlines in the Asia-Pacific region
    • Table 3. Annualized average daily stock returns, 2016–2019
    • Table 4. Empirical results based on the global Malmquist productivity index
    • Table 5. CVaRs for airline stock returns
    • Conceptualization
      Carol C. Huang
    • Data curation
      Carol C. Huang
    • Formal Analysis
      Carol C. Huang
    • Investigation
      Carol C. Huang
    • Methodology
      Carol C. Huang
    • Project administration
      Carol C. Huang
    • Supervision
      Carol C. Huang
    • Validation
      Carol C. Huang
    • Visualization
      Carol C. Huang
    • Writing – original draft
      Carol C. Huang
    • Writing – review & editing
      Carol C. Huang