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Corona: IndiGo posts loss of Rs 871 crore in Q4; GoAir extends leave without pay of many employees

NEW DELHI: The devastating impact coronavirus has had on airlines is now showing. IndiGo has reported a loss of Rs 870.8 crore in the January-March, 2020, quarter versus a profit of Rs 595.8 crore in same period last fiscal.
The pandemic-hit Q4 numbers saw the airline on Tuesday announce a loss of Rs 233.7 crore for FY 2019-20, versus a profit of Rs 157.2 crore in previous fiscal. “Closure of flight operations during national lockdown on account of COVID-19 significantly impacted revenue for the quarter,” the airline said in a statement. Stocks of IndiGo closed 0.8% lower at Rs 945.55 on BSE, while the broader market closed 1.6% up.
While IndiGo with its cash reserve of almost 20,377 crore is better placed to brave the pandemic storm, many other near bankrupt Indian airlines are struggling to survive with no government support to the industry so far.
GoAir, for instance, has extended leave without pay for many of its employees till the month-end. The airline says since it is restarting a fraction of the domestic flights from June 1, it will be calling only about one-third of its employees to work while others will remain on LWP — something that has caused lot of heartburn among staffers.
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Air India is yet to pay flying allowance (that account for over 70% of total pay of crew members) for March, April and May to its crew apart from basic salary of May. SpiceJet also has significant pay dues to employees.
Meanwhile, IndiGo’s total income for the quarter ended March 2020 was Rs 8,634.6 crore, an increase of 4.5% over the same period last year. Total expenses for Q4 was Rs 9,924.4 crore, an increase of 30% over the same quarter last year.
IndiGo CEO Ronojoy Dutta said: “IndiGo started domestic operations last Monday at 20% capacity and will like to raise it to 30% as soon as possible depending on demand. Things are looking reasonably good but I will not like to make any forward statement on that front right now. International was doing better than domestic (in terms of yields) for us. We are anxious to start international flights again. When that happens, I don’t know. International will again be strong performer. India has a very strong visiting friends and relatives demand for travel which will happen.”
IndiGo, which had a fleet of 262 aircraft — 100 A320 neos; 123 A320 ceos; 14 A321 neos and 5 ATRs — on March 31, 2020, said it is unable to give guidance on future capacity growth because of the “prevailing uncertainty due to pandemic.” “We will return 120 A320ceos in next two years, a scheduled time. We will take a large number of A320 in next 12 months,” Dutta said. The airline has about 700 Airbus A320neo family of planes on order.
Apart from coronavirus, IndiGo is still tackling two big issues that it has been facing in recent past — rift between co-promoters Rahul Bhatia and Rakesh Gangwal and the Pratt & Whitney (PW) engine troubles for the Airbus A320/21neos.
On the promoter spat, the airline said InterGlobe Enterprises and Rahul Bhatia had submitted a request for arbitration last October against the Gangwal group. “However no monetary claim, including any compensation or penalty, has been sought against the company,” it said.
On PW, IndiGo said there are certain disagreements on payments to be made and received between the two. “We will not be using the 40 A320neos that have one unmodified engines till the engine is replaced by modified ones,” IndiGo president and CEO Wolfgang Prock-Schauer said.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has extended the deadline for replacing PW unmodified engines on the Airbus A320neo fleet of IndiGo and GoAir by three months to August 31, 2020, from May-end. The regulator has directed these airlines to operate only those A320/321 new engine options (neo) in their fleets that have both modified engines under their wings. IndiGo and GoAir still need to replace about 60 engines whose delivery has been delayed because of the coronavirus epidemic.

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