Thursday, July 30, 2020

IndiGo and SpiceJet earnings presage a torrid period ahead for Indian aviation

IndiGo (InterGlobe Aviation), the country’s biggest carrier by domestic market share and fleet, declared a loss of Rs 2,884 crore in Q1 FY21. The company declared its result within minutes of rival SpiceJet declaring a loss of Rs 807 crore for Q4 FY20. While the two numbers are for two different quarters and do not allow apple to apple comparison, it says a lot about the state of aviation in the country and throws light on the finances of SpiceJet.

For IndiGo, this was the worst ever quarter and came exactly a year after the airline recorded its best ever quarter on the back of Jet Airways suspending operations last year.
Spicejet’s loss of Rs 807 crore for Q4 FY20 was marginally lower than IndiGo’s Rs 871 crore loss. But Spicejet is only 40 percent of IndiGo in terms of fleet. For the same period last year, the airline had recorded a Rs 56.3 crore profit. The airline has seen 13 of its B737MAX aircraft being grounded since last March and the quarter saw the airline budget Rs 134.5 crore as compensation, while for the year it was Rs 671.8 crore! None of this is yet vetted by Boeing and there continues to remain uncertainty about the exact number. At the same time the airline has also admitted that it has deferred some payment to various parties including vendors and express inability to determine all such costs and penalties!

The airline reported a net loss of Rs 934.8 crore for FY20, of which Rs 807 was recorded in the last quarter - a quarter which wasn’t fully affected by COVID-19 as the next one, for which the airline has not declared its results. The airline’s financial position remains precarious with a cash or cash equivalent of Rs 28.15 crore at the end of last fiscal.

The green shoots for SpiceJet could well be the cargo operations. The airline had started a subsidiary, SpiceXpress, and the revenue from freight and logistics services went up four times over the same quarter last year.
29/07/20 Ameya Joshi/
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