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The Associated Press February 24, 2011, 6:03AM ET

Budget carrier AirAsia posts record profit in 2010

Malaysian budget carrier AirAsia says net profit hit a record 1.07 billion ringgit ($349 million) last year, bolstered by a strong performance in the fourth quarter despite rising fuel costs.

It says Thursday that profit for the three months through December soared to 317 million ringgit ($103 million) from 34 million ringgit ($11.1 million) a year earlier.

Revenue for the quarter was up 33 percent to 1.19 billion ringgit ($388 million) amid strong growth in passenger numbers and rising income from the sale of products and services.

The airline said it plans to launch operations in the Philippines this year, open new hubs in the region and possibly list its Thai and Indonesian outfits as part of its expansion.

Last year, the group carried 25.7 million passengers, up 13 percent from 2009.

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