Describing fiscal 2017 as a year when Jet Airways was “ran as a tight ship,” chairman Naresh Goyal today said better days are ahead for the airline with a leaner balance sheet, having lowered its debt pile by around Rs 2,000 crore and a year-end profit of Rs 438 crore. He said fiscal prudence and laser-sharp focus on cost and a cautious expansion has ensured that the airline ended every quarter in FY17 in profit, with the March quarter net income being the eighth straight quarter of profitability.
The airline closed the fiscal year 2017 with a consolidated profit of Rs 438 crore on a revenue of Rs 23,407 crore that grew only 2.2 per cent. Goyal also credited the JV with Etihad as one of the major reasons for the improved all-round performance which has primarily helped the airline gain on network growth, revenue increase, operational efficiencies and cost improvement. “As a part of deleveraging, the airline has reduced its debt by Rs 1,902 crore during the year to March 2017 and overall, during the past two years, debt has been reduced by one-third,” Goyal told the shareholders at the AGM here.
On the equity partnership with Etihad, he said the alliance continues to be the largest carrier of international passengers to and fro from the country last year. “The resultant synergies from the partnership enabled one million passengers to connect between India and North America, Europe, Africa and the West Asia over Abu Dhabi by connecting 15 cities in the country, making it the most widespread network with nearly 20 per cent of the market share to these markets,” Goyal said. Following the new aviation policy, Jet forged new alliances and partnerships with airlines globally during the year, widening the already extensive international network.
The new code share partnerships include those with Air France-KLM in Europe and Delta in North America, he said. Goyal said continued focus on cost-cuts has resulted in the airline bringing down cost per ASK, excluding fuel, by 1.2 per cent. During the year, revenue grew 2.2 per cent to Rs 23,407 crore helping the company report full year profit.
On shifting the European base to Amsterdam from Brussels, he said this has resulted in a three-fold rise in code share access to European points, from 14 to 38 and the same with Delta has resulted in 220 points connectivity in North America. All this has Jet’s global reach extending to 108 destinations worldwide.
Though Goyal said he’s convinced about prospects of the domestic aviation sector which still remains healthy and robust, holding out significant growth opportunities, he flagged escalating airport levies, surcharges and high taxation continuing to shackle the industry. “The current airport infrastructure is unable to keep pace with the breakneck growth in capacity and traffic. Addressing these issues is the most urgent need of the hour. Yet, despite these challenges, our aviation industry is set for a bright future,” Goyal said. Domestic air traffic registered a growth of over 17 per cent in July with airlines ferrying 95.65 lakh passengers, compared to 85.08 lakh passengers in the same month last year.