Air India Express reported a net loss for the first time in seven years of Rs 72.33 crore in FY22, against a net profit of Rs 98.21 crore in FY21, due to the pandemic.
However, the number of passengers flown increased 56 percent in FY22 to 2.29 million. Air India Express operates flights mainly between India and the Gulf.
The Tata group took control of Air India and its subsidiary Air India Express on January 27 this year. Air India is in the process of being merged with another Tata group-owned airline AirAsia India, according to Business Standard.
According to Air India Express's documents filings with the companies registrar, the second and third waves of the pandemic hampered market recovery, particularly in the regional international markets, which are the airline's core business.
There are 24 Boeing 737 planes in Air India Express' fleet. Total income and expenses in FY22 were Rs 3,522 crore and Rs 3,251 crore, respectively.
Countries continued to have varying levels of travel restrictions during FY22, and the budget carrier mentioned that international flights continued to be conducted under VBM (Vande Bharat Mission) and air bubble arrangements.
The pandemic forced India to suspend international flights from March 2020 to March 2022. As a result of Covid restrictions, the airline formed bilateral air bubble arrangements with several nations during this two-year period.
"The airline, as such, continued with its business continuity measures, by shifting capacity in alignment with demand patterns, keeping a close watch on route profitability, continuing with cutbacks in employee salaries, and focusing on cargo," Air India Express said.
According to the carrier, these measures allowed the company to contain its net loss in FY22. During FY21, its parent company Air India, which has been losing money for many years, reported a net loss of Rs 9,556 crore.
Due to travel restrictions and bans imposed by many countries during the second wave of the pandemic, Air India Express said that its passenger load factor of 59.9 percent in FY22 is "notable".
A total of 10,172 flights were operated by the airline in FY22, of which only 190 were domestic flights. Air India Express operates flights from India to 15 foreign cities: Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ras-Al-Khaimah, Al Ain, Muscat, Salalah, Bahrain, Doha, Kuwait, Dammam, Riyadh, Jeddah, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur.
During FY22, revenue from cargo carriage went up about 58 per cent, taking the net revenue to Rs 209 crore against Rs 132 crore for FY21. "The quantum increase in cargo this fiscal year (FY22) is attributed primarily to the 300 plus cargo-in-cabin flights (P2C) that were operated during the lockdown period. Each P2C flight could carry a cargo payload of approximately 15 Tons," it mentioned.