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Jet Airways' passenger numbers fall; IndiGo, SpiceJet perform better

The Naresh Goyal-led airline flew 14.7 lakh passengers in November 2018, down by about 1.5 lakh passengers from the beginning of the year, in January.

January 08, 2019 / 04:36 PM IST
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The turbulent time at Jet Airways is now beginning to show in its passenger numbers. The Naresh Goyal-led airline flew 14.7 lakh passengers in November 2018, down by about 1.5 lakh passengers from January.

In January 2018, the airline had flown 16.2 lakh passengers, show statistics from the DGCA.

The trying times have, in fact, pegged back Jet Airways by a year. It had ended 2017 flying about 16.1 lakh passengers in December that year. That was 1.4 lakh more passengers than its January 2017 level.

The airline's troubles had begun from the fourth quarter of FY2018. It had reported a massive net loss of Rs 1,045 crore pushing annual numbers for the financial year in the red. It ended FY2018 with an annual loss of Rs 634 crore, as against a profit of Rs 1,442 crore, a year earlier.

Since that fourth quarter, the airline has reported two more consecutive quarters of net loss. In the quarter ended September 2018, Jet Airways suffered a loss of Rs 1,297 crore, despite an increase in its revenues.


Not just Jet Airways, peers including IndiGo and SpiceJet have also suffered from adverse conditions. Intense competition and increase in supply kept fares low, and high costs, mainly due to an increasing crude, which eventually corrected by the end of 2018, have been the biggest worrying factors.

But the impact has been most on Jet Airways, which unlike the other two, is a full-fledged carrier and has higher costs.

Jet Airways defaulted on its debt repayments in December 2018 and has delayed salary payments to its pilots. Even as its lenders now put pressure on the company to improve liquidity position, Goyal is looking for fresh investments.

IndiGo, the country's largest airline posted its first quarterly loss since listing in the second quarter of the current FY. SpiceJet's bottomline was also marked in red.

But the two have managed to improve upon their passenger numbers.

IndiGo flew over 50 lakh passengers in November, up from 45.5 lakh passengers in January.

In the case of SpiceJet, the increase was marginal - from 14.4 lakh in January to 14.5 lakh in November. But it is now hot on the wings of Jet Airways.

International operations

Jet Airways saw a drop in passengers on its international routes too. From 8.1 lakh in January, passenger numbers were down to 6.4 lakh in November.

A year earlier - just like in the domestic market - Jet Airways had seen an increase. From 7.8 lakh in January 2017, the airline had 8.06 lakh international passengers in December 2018.

From the time the sectoral environment became adverse, Jet Airways has rationalised some of its international routes. It has stopped flights from tier -2 and tier 3 cities, and has instead increased frequency from Delhi and Mumbai.
Prince Mathews Thomas heads the corporate bureau of Moneycontrol. He has been covering the business world for 16 years, having worked in The Hindu Business Line, Forbes India, Dow Jones Newswires, The Economic Times, Business Standard and The Week. A Chevening scholar, Prince has also authored The Consolidators, a book on second generation entrepreneurs.
first published: Jan 8, 2019 04:36 pm
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