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IndiGo to launch flights to Nairobi, Jakarta soon, looking at China as well: Pieter Elbers

IndiGo aims to use 30 percent of its capacity for international operations in 2023-24

February 03, 2023 / 10:21 PM IST


IndiGo will soon launch new flights between India and Nairobi in Kenya and Jakarta in Indonesia, Chief Executive Officer Pieter Elbers said on February 3, as India's biggest airline reported a profit of Rs 1,422.6 crore in the December quarter.

Elbers said that IndiGo is looking to launch operations in China as well, as the country opens up to international travel following an easing of COVID-19 curbs.

Speaking in a post-earnings conference call, Elbers said IndiGo would look to add more than 15 percent to its capacity in 2023-24, after increasing its capacity by around 17 percent in 2022-23.

"We expect deliveries of Airbus to resume in a strong manner in FY24, which will help IndiGo expand its capacity even more next year," Elbers said.

The airline said that it caters to 16 percent of the international market share to and from India, where it uses 23 percent of its capacity.

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"We will aim to deploy around 30 percent of our capacity for international traffic in 2023-24," Elbers said.

A quarter to remember  

InterGlobe Aviation Ltd, the parent company of budget carrier IndiGo, posted an 11-fold jump in quarter ended December 31, 2022, led by a pick-up in demand for air travel.

The airline's profit came in at Rs 1,422.6 crore against a profit of Rs 129.8 crore in the year-ago period. Revenue from operations surged 61 percent to Rs 14,932 crore in the third quarter as against Rs 9,294 crore a year ago.

IndiGo's management added that it expects profitability to continue in the coming quarters and will look to end 2022-23 as operationally profitable.

"Forward bookings have been strong in January and February and going forward, we expect to end 2022-23 being operationally profitable, excluding the impact of foreign exchange losses," the airline's top brass said.

IndiGo also said that its total cash as of December 31 stood at Rs 219.247 billion, out of this around Rs 100 billion was free cash which would be used to increase capacity in 2023-24.

The low-cost carrier also said that it has surpassed its pre-COVID numbers in terms of catering to passengers, however, the overall market is still operating below pre-COVID levels.

"The growth of the aviation market in India back to pre-COVID levels and further is an opportunity for IndiGo to grow," the airline's top brass said.

IndiGo said that its yield for the December quarter stood at Rs 5.38 but have fallen around 3-4 percent in January due to seasonal weakness.

Yield is the average amount of revenue received per paying passenger flown one mile. It is calculated as Passenger Revenues/Revenue Passenger Miles.

The airline's RASK (Revenue per Available Seat Kilometer) for the December quarter stood at Rs 5.26. RASK is the total Operating Revenue per seat (empty or full) flown one kilometer. Often referred to as a “unit revenue” measurement it is calculated as Total Operating Revenues/Available Seat Miles.

IndiGo's average aircraft utilisation stood at around 13 hours per day, excluding the impact of grounded aircraft.

The airline also said that its ground aircraft are slowly returning to service but the situation will take some time to be completely resolved. IndiGo added that it has reached out to aircraft manufacturers for compensation for its grounded fleet.

"We have received some compensation for our grounded aircraft from OEMS (Original Equipment Makers/Aircraft Makers) which has led to a rise in our other income in the December quarter," the airline said.

IndiGo's other income jumped to Rs 4,772 million in the December quarter when compared to Rs 1,853 million for the same period last year.

Yaruqhullah Khan