Indian carriers are collectively estimated to lose between $173 to $262 million in the third quarter of the financial year, aviation research firm Centre of Aviation (CAPA) said in a statement on Friday.
A major chunk of these losses, at around $150-$175 million, are seen to be posted by state-owned Air India, an unlisted entity. Private sector Jet Airways may report a loss of $60-$80 m and budget carrier SpiceJet could post losses of around $28-$35 m, CAPA said.
Low-cost carrier IndiGo is seen to post a profit of around $45m-$55m, while its rival in the same segment Go Air may post a profit of $4-5 million on the back of income generated from sale of two A320s during October 2013, it added.
“With the industry reporting significant losses in peak season it is clear that the domestic Indian aviation market has a fundamental problem with viability,” CAPA said.
Every carrier is expected to post losses during the fourth quarter based on current trends and a fare war is not ruled out in February or March, which is likely to result in Jet Airways and SpiceJet reporting record full year losses for the 12 months ending March 31, it said.
“Jet is expected to burn almost the entire capital generated from the 24% stake sale to Etihad. It is possible that the Jet’ Airways Group’s FY14 losses could be close to 70% of the total combined losses since 2007, which stand at R2,826 crore. SpiceJet is also expected to report a record full year loss in FY2014 that could be equivalent to its entire combined losses since 2007, which stand at R1,186 crore,” CAPA said, adding “These projections are subject to market trends for the remainder of the current fourth quarter and exclude oneadjustments”.
CAPA also said that Indigo, which is currently the leader in terms of market share, is preparing for a fresh order of 200-250 aircraft. “IndiGo’s consistent profitability may signal that the time is coming to leverage the carrier’s success story through an IPO in FY2015,” it added.
Air Asia’s launch could be delayed to September-October 2014 should approvals be delayed, CAPA said.
It also said that SpiceJet would need close to $200 million capital to remain operationally viable and a realistic and meaningful turnaround may require at least $300 million for the airline.