Mumbai: A sharp rise in fuel cost coupled with a sliding rupee pushed the country's largest airline, Jet Airways, deeper into the red for the fifth quarter in a row with the combined losses soaring 140 percent at Rs 298.10 crore in the quarter ended March 31, 2012.
The losses negated a healthy 24.3 percent increase in total income which stood at Rs 4,638.9 crore during the period.
The airline saw its fuel bill jumping 42.4 percent at Rs 1,822.5 crore as against Rs 1,279.7 crore in the year-ago period.
The Jet Group today reported an operating profit of Rs 412.4 crore for the reporting quarter, which it described as a "challenging environment" marked by a massive spike in fuel cost and a doddering rupee.
Commenting on the results, Jet Group chief executive Nikos Kardassis said, "the rupee depreciation and high fuel prices have impacted the quarterly results, however, capacity reduction in the industry has helped to raise fares and improve yields."
The group's combined revenue, however, rose a healthy 24.3 percent at Rs 4,638.9 crore on the back of a 23.5 percent rise in passenger growth, which helped the airline report a 9 percent rise in Ebitdar of Rs 412,4 crore.
For the entire fiscal, the Naresh Goyal-promoted airline's total revenue grew 14.8 percent at Rs 16,898 crore helped by a healthier 16.3 percent rise in passenger load. The full year Ebitdar rose 7 percent at Rs 1.168.6 crore.
During the quarter, the airline's overall seat factor rose to 79.3 percent from 78.6 percent, increasing by 18 percent the revenue passengers carried at 17.31 million.
For the entire fiscal, revenue rose to Rs 14,994.1 core, an increase of 15.9 percent, while the fuel cost zoomed 51.8 percent at Rs 6,630.7 crore from Rs 4,366.7 crore, pushing down the Ebitdar margin to 7.6 percent.
Commenting on the current fiscal, Kardassis said capacity reduction in the industry has helped the domestic airlines to increase fares and improve yields. The full impact of the same will be felt in the current quarter. We have not seen any adverse effect on the passenger traffic flow.
"Rupee fall and crude prices continue to be a cause of concern. This coupled with sluggish economy may impact traffic growth to some extent in the short to medium term as the discretionary spending on travel could get affected," he said.
Revenue from domestic operations accounted for 43.8 percent or Rs 17,93 crore of the total income, with the domestic traffic growing 22.6 percent for the quarter, which is much higher than the industry traffic growth of 6.6 percent.
Revenues from international operations of Rs 2,299.7 crore accounted for 56.2 percent of total revenues during the quarter, on the back of 26.3 percent spike in international traffic, pushing up the seat factor growth to 86 percent up from 80.4 percent, primarily helped by the exit of rival Kingfisher form the global markets. The Ebitdar margins declined to 12.6 percent from 16.3 percent, Kardassis said.
Jet, which has a fleet of 102 planes, may order more than 100 narrow-body aircraft for up to $3.75 billion in 2012/13 as it grabs market share from its troubled rivals, a leading consultancy said this week.
Jet, along with low-cost arm JetKonnect, has a 28.2 percent share in the domestic market.
The company shares closed down 0.5 percent at Rs 320.65 on the BSE whose main gauge jumped 1.7 percent.