Air India Express, the regional subsidiary of Air India, has reported a net profit of Rs 169 crores in the financial year ended in March 2019. The net profit dropped 35% when compared to Rs 261 crores it reported in the same period last year. The airline blames high fuel cost for the profit loss. Meanwhile, the airline recorded a 16% growth in revenue at Rs 4202 crores in 2018-19, compared to Rs 3,620 crores in FY18.
Air India Express attributes the revenue growth to higher utilization of assets and resources. “Average daily aircraft utilization rose to 13.3 hours (in 2018-19), from the 12.7 hours in the previous year, which in turn led to an increase in capacity,” Air India Express said in a statement released to the media. Its average passenger load factor during the fiscal stood at 79.6%, up 4% from the previous year.
“The net profit earned in the last fiscal is particularly significant as the aviation sector has had to face many challenges, including high input costs. The unit cost incurred on fuel alone increased by around 35% during this period. The impact of this on profitability was huge, as more than 40% of the airline’s operating cost was incurred on fuel,” Air India Express CEO K. Shyam Sundar said.
Air India Express carried 4.36 million passengers in the year, 12% more compared to 3.89 million in 2017-18.
“In the financial year 2018-19, Air India Express inducted two more aircraft on dry lease, which joined the fleet in September and October 2018 respectively. With the induction of these two aircraft, Air India Express expanded its network to three new Indian cities - Bengaluru, Kannur and Surat,” the airline said in a statement.
Air India Express operates to 13 international and 20 domestic destinations. It has a fleet size of 25 aircraft, mainly Boeing 737-800 NG planes.