Debt-ridden Kingfisher Airlines’ loss widened to Rs 651 crore for the quarter ended June 30 2012 from Rs 264 crore a year ago.

The impact of high fuel costs, high interest rates, rupee depreciation and extraordinary expenses on account of return of aircraft to lessors and costs associated with non-operating aircraft resulted in the loss, the airline said in a statement.

Revenue dropped to Rs 301 crore in the April-June quarter from Rs 1,907 crore in the corresponding quarter last year. Parent company UB Group provided cash support of over Rs 750 crore to the airline to meet its cash flow requirements, the statement said.

Since its launch in 2005, Kingfisher Airlines has never reported a profit. The airline, however, said in the statement that it continues to believe it will get recapitalised and get on a path of sustained profitability. The airline is in discussions with several strategic and financial investors to bring fresh capital, the statement added.

The first quarter saw the other two listed airlines, Jet Airways and Spicejet, posting surprise profits after five consecutive losses in previous quarters.

Jet Airways posted a profit of Rs 25 crore in the April-June quarter while Spicejet reported a Rs 56-crore profit on the back of improved capacity, cost-cutting, route rationalisation and sale and lease-back of aircrafts in the same period.

Meanwhile, Kingfisher Airlines’ operations throughout the country have been hit since Wednesday when it cancelled over 30 flights after a section of its employees, including engineers and pilots, reported sick, protesting non-payment of salaries for the past seven months. The airline currently has a schedule of close to 100 flights a day, down from over 400 in January.

Bankers say that given its current fleet strength and truncated operations schedule, the beleaguered airline cannot be turned around. Debtor-creditor meetings held so far have not yielded any result. The airline has been asked to put non-core assets on the block.

On Friday shares of the airline tanked by over 11 per cent and closed at Rs 7.40 on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

nivedita.ganguly@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on August 11, 2012)
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