InterGlobe Aviation Ltd, operating under the brand name IndiGo, India’s premier airline, reported a significant profit after tax (PAT) of ₹2,998.1 crores for the December quarter, marking a notable increase from the ₹1,422.6 crores recorded in the same period last year, as air travel demand surged.
During this quarter, the airline’s total income experienced a 30.2% jump year-on-year, reaching ₹20,062.3 crore, benefiting from the holiday season’s boost to the travel sector. This marks the fifth consecutive quarter of net profits for IndiGo since the last quarter of 2022, signaling a robust recovery from the pandemic-induced downturns.
The airline expanded its fleet by 24 aircraft in the recent quarter, reaching a total of 358 aircraft by the end of December. Looking ahead, IndiGo expects a 12% increase in capacity for the March quarter compared to last year and plans to add a new aircraft every week during 2024-25, even amidst engine supply challenges from the US-based manufacturer Pratt & Whitney.
The airline has adopted strategies like extending leases for older aircraft and acquiring additional ones through damp and secondary dry leases to bolster its fleet.
Furthermore, IndiGo has had to ground more planes in January for inspections related to a powder metal issue in Pratt & Whitney engines, affecting potentially 150 of its aircraft. The inspections could take between 250 to 300 days.
Despite these operational hurdles, the airline expects to maintain high yields due to strong demand and limited capacity, a positive aspect of its financial health. With a significant free cash reserve of ₹19,199.6 crore, IndiGo plans to invest further in acquiring engines and aircraft, increasing its owned or finance-leased aircraft count to 26 from 16 in September.
Operating costs for the airline rose by 22% to ₹17,063.7 crore, with fuel expenses constituting 40% of this, totaling ₹6,841.4 crore, an 18% increase. The yield per passenger kilometer improved by 2% to ₹5.48. Despite removing a fuel surcharge imposed earlier, the airline remains vigilant about fluctuating fuel prices.