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Vistara narrows loss in FY21, revenue drops 53% in pandemic year

The airline now expects business to recover to pre-COVID levels by late 2021.

October 20, 2021 / 05:51 PM IST
Representative image

Representative image

Vistara, the joint venture airline between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, narrowed its loss in the year ended March 31 as other income increased and total expenditure fell.

The airline’s loss was Rs 1,611.57 crore compared with Rs 1,813.38 crore a year earlier, according to financial data accessed by business intelligence platform Tofler. Revenue fell 53 percent to Rs 2,243.49 crore from Rs 4,738.45 crore in FY20.

Airlines in the country were hit last year after flights were grounded for two months following the COVID-19 outbreak and allowed to resume with restricted seat capacity in phases. Domestic and international flights were affected by the curbs.

Vistara’s other income rose to Rs 487.37 crore from Rs 112.61 crore previously. Total expenses declined to Rs 4,342.43 crore from Rs 6,664.45 crore. The company had Rs 935.23 crore of cash and cash equivalent as of March 31.

“The company continues to focus on judicious management of its working capital, receivables, inventories and other working capital parameters,” the report prepared by Tofler said.

The airline reported available seat kilometres, a measure of passenger-carrying capacity, of 634.9 million in FY21, down from 1.16 billion previously.

All Vistara’s 30 domestic stations, including seasonal stations, were steadily brought online and Dehradun was launched as the 31st domestic station in November 2020.

“As on March 31, 2021, the company operated to 30 domestic destinations as the company had to stop operations to one station in view of commercial performance,” the report said.

Limited international services resumed in August 2020 under the Travel Bubble Arrangements. The airline inaugurated its long-haul services using the Boeing 787-9 aircraft, starting on the Delhi-London route in August 2020, London-Mumbai in January 2021, and Delhi-Frankfurt in February 2021.

“Vistara also started operations to several new regional destinations including Doha and Dhaka in November 2020 (both from Delhi), Sharjah in January 2021 (from Delhi and Mumbai), and Male in March 2021(from Mumbai) under the Travel Bubble Arrangement,” the report stated.

Before the lockdown was imposed last year, the airline operated about 200 daily domestic departures and 10 daily international departures.

“The load factors improved over time, raising hopes of reaching pre-COVID levels in the first quarter of 2021/22. But the second wave during April 2021 brought the industry back to levels of June 2020. The company now hopes for recovery of business to pre-COVID levels by late 2021,” the report added.

Vistara is taking steps to conserve energy, including a transition towards less onboard paper documentation. The report stated that the airline is implementing the ‘Electronic Flight Folder’ and is currently in the evaluation stage. This enables the import of flight-briefing package data (currently in paper form with 50-100 pages per flight duty) from ground systems to the Electronic Flight Bag and can replace flight paper documentation.

The report said that despite a hiring freeze, 141 business-critical vacancies were filled by the airline. The company had 3,790 staffers as of March 31. Over 42 percent of the employees were women, down 1.8 percent from FY20.

Vistara’s updated paid-up share capital was Rs 8,120 crore as of May 7, 2021, of which 51 percent was held by Tata Sons and 49 percent by Singapore Airlines, the report stated.
Ashwini Phadnis is a senior journalist based in New Delhi.
first published: Oct 20, 2021 05:51 pm