Flying into the red | Outlook Business
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Graphically Speaking

Flying into the red
Airlines lost money in Q2FY19 even though traffic is at an all-time high

It’s been a crash course for aviation players with almost all listed players taking a drubbing on the bourse as crude soared to $82. Though, of late, the price has fallen below $70, the financials for Q2 of all airlines, including the most profitable IndiGo, have taken a hit. That doesn’t come as a surprise given that Indian carriers incur 40-45% of their total operating costs on fuel, well above the global average, according to a report by Care Ratings. Interestingly, despite the macro headwind, India’s airline passenger traffic grew for the 49th consecutive month in September. In fact, air passenger traffic grew by nearly 17% over the April-September period. Total passenger traffic stood at 169.5 million during the six-month period, with domestic traffic accounting for 80% of the total traffic. Though the passenger load factor (PLF) for all airlines was around 80-85%, IndiGo gained incremental market share. In fact, the largest airline continues to rule the skies with reported PLF of 87.6% for H1FY19. However, with both Jet Airways and Air India struggling, SpiceJet could end up gaining market share in the months ahead.

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