AirAsia India passenger volume soars 79% to 1.42 million in December quarter

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Low-cost airline AirAsia India has carried 1.42 million passengers in the December quarter, a growth of 79 percent over the same quarter in 2016.

This was despite the fact that its load factor slipped by one percentage point to 85, but was compensated for by an 80 percent increase in capacity, the airline said.

However or the full year of 2017, the airline which is a JV between the Tatas and the Malaysia-based Air Asia Group, has carried 4.44 million passengers, up over 81 percent from 2016 and recorded an average full-year load factor of 87 percent, up 1 percentage point from 2016.

Air Asia India, which is keen to fly overseas this year, has ended the quarter with a fleet size of 14 aircraft after adding one plane in the quarter and six in the year

In the reporting quarter, it commenced operations in three new routes–Bangalore, Bhubaneswar and Hyderabad, and ramped up the frequency in the Bangalore-Hyderabad sector and also reduced the frequency on Bangalore-Pune sector.

Currently, it operates over 100 daily flights connecting 16 destinations with a fleet of 15 Airbus A320s.

Earlier this month, managing director and chief executive Amar Abrol had told PTI that he was hopeful of breaking even by the end of 2018 or in the first week of 2019.

He expects to be 21-fleet airline by the yearend, which will make it eligible to begin overseas flights.

In the September 2017 quarter, it had massively narrowed its net losses to Rs 16.4 crore form against Rs 62.12 crore a year ago, on a revenue of Rs 395 crore, which rose from Rs 175.13 crore a year ago.

Abrol had also said they were planning to triple the headcount to over 4,800 by 2020 from 1,612 in 2017 as it would be spreading wings to international skies besides expanding domestic operations.

“In 2017, we had 1,612 employees, which we plan to take to 2,569 this year and 3,684 in the subsequent year. By 2020, we expect to have 4,834 people working for us,” Abrol had told PTI earlier this month.

Abrol said the Bengaluru-based carrier will be completing four years this June and is also likely to double its passenger traffic to 8 million this year from almost 4 million in 2017.

“We expect this number to go to 12 million in 2019 and by 2020, we hope to fly 15 million,” he added.

AirAsia Group chief executive Tony Fernandes had also announced a public float for the India joint venture wherein his group controls 49 percent.moneycontrol