New Delhi: Flying in the black for the second year straight, Air India Express on Wednesday reported net profit of Rs296.7 crore for 2016-17, helped primarily by higher revenues and reduced costs. The low cost arm of state-owned Air India however saw its net profit fall from Rs361.68 crore in financial year ended March 2016.
Air India Express’ remaining profitable assumes significance amid the government looking at various options, including possible privatisation, to revive debt-laden Air India. The results were approved by the airline’s board during the meeting held here on Wednesday. “The net profit earned in 2016-17 is particularly significant as the competition from Indian private carriers increased considerably during the year,” Air India Express CEO K Shyam Sundar
“There was also the sluggishness of Gulf economies where 90% of our capacities are deployed and the large increase in capacity offered by the airline, we had to strive harder to achieve this success,” he said. The airline saw its revenue rise 14% to Rs3,335 crore. It has been registering operating profit for the last four years.
“Prudent commercial and management interventions including better utilisation of its assets gave rise to reduction of about 5-7% in unit costs contributing to the positive financial outcome. Average daily aircraft utilisation rose to 12.2 hours from 11.3 hours,” the airline said in a press release.
Air India Express, which started operations in 2005, has 545 weekly departures and flew 3.4 million passengers in 2016 -17. The carrier has a fleet of 23 Boeing 737-800NG aircraft, each having a seating capacity for 189 people.