Monday, January 14, 2019

Air India's passenger revenue grows by 20% in Q3 of 2018-19: Report

AT A time when the government is considering all options to disinvest Air India, Air India's revenue from passengers increased by 20 percent in the December 2018 quarter on the back of better aircraft utilisation. However, the beleaguered national carrier's passenger count rose by only four percent during the same time. A senior Air India official said, "Due to better and efficient utilisation of aircraft fleet, the passenger revenue increased from Rs 4,615 crore in third quarter of 2017-18 to Rs 5,538 crore in the third quarter of 2018-19."
The official added that the number...
of passengers has increased to 55.27 lakh during the quarter from 53.28 lakh in the year-ago period. "This shows that passengers have increased by around 4 percent but our ASKM (available seat kilometres) has increased at a much faster rate," the official said.
ASKM indicates the passenger-carrying capacity of an aircraft. It is arrived at by multiplying the number of seats occupied by the distance travelled by the aircraft in kilometres during a particular period. The loss-making entity has a debt burden of over Rs 48,000 crore and the government's efforts for strategic disinvestment of the Maharaja failed in May last year.
The official said passengers in December increased by 4 percent but the revenue from them increased by 23 percent during the month.
"In the third quarter, total 15 new flights were started by the company," the official added.
Speaking about the Air India's woes, Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu Friday said future revenues of the company cannot service its "massive" debt and this legacy issue has to be segregated from the current challenges of Air India.
"If you feel that future revenues can actually service the debt, it is not possible for the simple reason that the debt is so massive," Prabhu said.
Air India has been making losses since the merger with Indian Airlines in 2007. The airline has a fleet size of around 122 aircraft currently.
"We have prepared a plan, we are trying to professionalise the entire management of Air India, right from the CEO (chief executive officer) downwards so that there will be a proper management structure so that Air India can reach to newer heights," he said.
Earlier, the government said that it The government is eyeing around $1 billion (about Rs 7,000 crore) from the sale of national carrier Air India in the next financial year, a government official said.
The government will initiate the process of strategic disinvestment of Air India in the second half of 2019-20 and in between it would work towards selling some of its subsidiaries and monetise assets.
Air India has a debt burden of Rs 55,000 crore. In November last year, a ministerial panel headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had approved transferring Rs 29,000 crore debt to a special purpose vehicle (SPV)-- Air India Asset Holding Company.

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