THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Even as the Centre moves ahead with a proposal to privatise the debt-ridden Air India, the Air India Express (AIE), the low-cost arm of the national carrier, registered a net profit for the third consecutive year.
The airline registered a net profit of Rs 262 crore in FY 2017-18 as per the accounts placed and approved by the airline’s board of directors. The airline has been registering operating profits for the past five years, and first earned a net profit in 2015-16.
“The net profit earned in 2017-18 is particularly significant as the aviation sector had to face many challenges including high input costs, coupled with the sluggishness of Gulf economies where 90 per cent of our capacities are deployed,” said K Shyam Sundar, CEO, Air India Express (AIE).
According to him, the unit costs also saw an increase in the past year with the steady increase in global fuel rates; the average cost of fuel in March 2018 was about 20 per cent more compared to the same month last year.
Despite the adverse market conditions, revenues increased by 8.7 per cent, recording a total revenue of R3,648 crore. Prudent commercial and management interventions contributed to the positive outcome.
The average daily aircraft utilisation rose to 12.7 hours from 12.2 hours in the previous year. The number of passengers carried by the airline increased by 13.7 per cent to 3.89 million from 3.42 million in 2016-17.
The year also saw AIE expanding its wings to markets in Madurai, Coimbatore and Vijayawada. With a fleet size comprising 24 Boeing 737 – 800 NG aircraft, the airline flies to 13 international and 18 Indian destinations.
Taking off in 2017-18
Net profit: Rs 262 crore
Operating revenue increased by 7.3%
Passengers carried: 3.89mn, a 13.7% increase