The Covid-19 pandemic, which disrupted planned international services, caused Air India Express, which flies primarily between India and the Gulf states, to post a net loss for the first time in seven years.
According to the documents it submitted to the Registrar of Companies, the airline reported a net loss of Rs 72.33 crore in FY22 compared to a net profit of Rs 98.21 crore in FY21 (ROC).
On January 27 this year, Tata Group took control of Air India and its subsidiary Air India Express. A merger between Air India and AirAsia India, another airline owned by the Tata group, is currently taking place.
Before FY22, Air India Express was in the red in FY15, when it posted a net loss of Rs 61 crore.
“Going forward, as market recovery picks up pace, the airline’s immediate efforts will be to focus on operational and financial stability, and a return to normalcy. This will include building up resources for increasing flying (hours), increasing average aircraft utilisation to pre-pandemic levels, and evaluating a moderate capacity increase,” the airline stated.
The second and third waves of the pandemic hampered market recovery, especially in the regional international markets—Air India Express's mainstay—the airline claimed in its documents submitted to the RoC to explain the FY22 results.
Air India Express has 24 Boeing 737 planes in its fleet. Its total income and total expenses were Rs 3,522 crore and Rs 3,251 crore, respectively, in FY22.
“The airline, as such, continued with its business continuity measures, by shifting capacity in alignment with demand patterns, keeping a close watch on route profitability, continuing with cutbacks in employee salaries, and focusing on cargo,” Air India Express explained when India had suspended international flights from March 2020 to March 2022 because of the pandemic.
As a result of these measures, the company was able to contain its net loss at Rs 72.33 crore in FY22, the carrier mentioned. Its parent company Air India -- which has been making losses for many years -- reported a net loss of Rs 9,556 crore in FY21.
As a result of travel restrictions and bans put in place by many nations during the second wave of the pandemic, Air India Express said the passenger load factor of 59.9% achieved in FY22 is "notable" given that many flights were operated with only one-way/restricted passenger loads.
With 2.29 million passengers transported by Air India Express in FY22 compared to 1.47 million in FY21, there was a 56% increase in passenger volume.
Air India Express operated 10,172 flights in FY22, of which only 190 were domestic services. It operates flights from India to 15 foreign cities: Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ras-Al-Khaimah, Al Ain, Muscat, Salalah, Bahrain, Doha, Kuwait, Dammam, Riyadh, Jeddah, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur.
During FY22, revenue from cargo carriage went up by about 58 per cent, taking the net revenue to Rs 209 crore against Rs 132 crore for FY21, Air India Express said. “The quantum increase in cargo this fiscal year (FY22) is attributed primarily due to the 300 plus Cargo-in-Cabin flights (P2C) that were operated during the lockdown period. Each P2C flight could carry a cargo payload of approximately 15 Tons,” it mentioned.
Please Subscribe and get updates in your inbox. Thank you.