For the turnaround plan of the national carrier, the government invested Rs 30,000 crore into the loss-making airline.
The secretary said as Air India’s plan...
is on track, the ministry expects it to post a net profit in FY19 ahead of the target of 2020-21 stipulated in the turnaround plan.
His assertion that the national carrier will post an operating profit in FY17 is significant since the airline posted an operating loss during the first two quarters of the current fiscal.
The loss-making airline had posted its first operating profit (since the merger with Indian Airlines) of Rs 105 crore in FY16.
However, in the first two quarters of the current fiscal, Air India posted operating losses of Rs 246 crore and Rs 461 crore, respectively.
But Choubey said the losses in the first two quarters were due to two lump-sum payments the airline made during this period, and the remaining two quarters would be profitable.
He said that the airline has improved on certain operational parameters like the On Time Performance (OTP) and Passenger Load Factor (PLF), but debt reduction remains a concern for which it will have to make some concrete plan.
“Last year also Air India registered losses in the first two quarters like this year but I am certain from the review that the ministry has done that it will make an operating profit at the end of the current fiscal year as well. The improved PLF and OTP apart the benign fuel prices will be the main contributing factors,” Choubey said.
Air India’s PLF and OTP have improved significantly in the last two years and the airline has also improved the turnaround time of its aircraft which points towards the increasing operational efficiency.
One of the hefty payments that the airline had to incur during the first half of the current fiscal was towards the increase in lease rentals because of the nine Dreamliner aircraft that the carrier inducted in its fleet earlier this fiscal year.
Air India’s revenue earning is on track and the management is working on the debt reduction plan.