Jet Airways reported a 91 per cent slump in net profit in the September 2017 quarter, bogged down by massive forex losses and higher fuel costs.

Standalone net profit for the quarter was Rs. 49.63 crore, the company said in a filing with stock exchanges. A year ago, net profit had stood at Rs. 548.82 crore. While revenue stagnated at Rs. 5,758 crore for the period, the airline reported forex loss of Rs. 72.99 crore in the quarter as opposed to a forex gain of Rs. 117.9 crore in the year-ago period. Profit on sale and leaseback of aircraft for the quarter was nil compared to Rs. 190.22 crore last year. Aircraft fuel expenses rose over 16 per cent to Rs. 1,525.66 crore for the quarter.

A press release by Jet Airways said the net profit for the group stood at Rs. 71 crore while net debt reduced by Rs. 194 crore. Passenger revenue increased to Rs. 5,147 crore while available seat kilometers (ASK) increased by 7.7 per cent to 14 billion, over Q2 FY17, the company said.

“Despite an increase in the Brent fuel price, the overall CASK (cost per available seat km) dropped due to the airline’s ongoing efforts to improve operational efficiencies throughout its business. CASK-excluding fuel fell 5.3 percent to Rs. 3.07 against Rs. 3.24 in Q2 FY17 in line with Jet Airways’ plan to achieve a 12-15 percent reduction in non-fuel CASK over the next 8-10 quarters,” the release said.

It quoted Vinay Dube, CEO, as saying: “The weak demand in the Gulf continues, whilst low fares as well as yields in the domestic market have limited the ability to offset the increase in fuel prices. In line with our commitment to offer guests a superior experience, we continue to grow our domestic presence while keeping a tight control on costs, reflecting in the reduction in non-fuel CASK.”

The company stock closed up 2.04 per cent on the BSE at Rs. 696.75.

In a separate filing with the stock exchanges, the airline appointed Kevin Knight to its board as the nominee for minority shareholder Etihad Airways in place of James Rigney. Knight is the Group Chief Strategy and Planning Officer at Etihad.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated December 8, 2017)

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