The Tata-SIA-run full service airline Vistara posted a net loss of Rs 431 crore on revenues of Rs 2,137.4 crore during FY18, according to a regulatory filing with the Registrar of Companies by the unlisted entity.
The Tata-SIA-run full service airline Vistara posted a net loss of Rs 431 crore on revenues of Rs 2,137.4 crore during FY18, according to a regulatory filing with the Registrar of Companies by the unlisted entity. The losses narrowed from Rs 518 crore it registered in FY17. The airline that has operated now for over three years has accumulated losses of Rs 1,556 crore and its debt has risen to Rs 332 crore from Rs 202.8 crore in FY17.
Vistara’s cash flow from operations remains negative at Rs 3,941 crore whereas cash flow from financing went up to Rs 600 crore from Rs 400 crore in FY17. More seats (because in FY17 the airline expanded its capacity) meant total income went up 54% year-on-year at Rs 2,137.43 crore. Total expenses during the year at Rs 2,634.63 saw an increase of 38%.
Vistara, which is expanding moderately in the domestic market and awaits to fly international, has seen a steady erosion of networth. During FY18 its networth was Rs 63.56, a slight improvement from a negative of Rs 105.35 crore in FY17. This was primarily the reason why Tatas and its foreign JV partner Singapore Airlines pumped in Rs 2,000 crore in October by issuing fresh shares. Aviation experts say Vistara’s poor performance is primarily due to its high cost structure, which industry pegs a bit higher than its full service competitor, the struggling Jet Airways.
“If there is increase in volumes, in this case the available seats per kilometer (ASKs), then technically the revenues should have doubled too,” said an industry expert, adding that “revenues have not risen in sync with capacity addition which means they sold seats at the same fares”.
Responding to this, a Vistara spokesperson said, for the year ending March 2018, capacity was up 42% and average fleet size year-on-year increased 33%, while revenues were up 54% – which is well in excess of capacity and fleet increase. The airline’s market share was inching close to 4% by the end of March 2018 with a load factor of 88.2%.
Vistara says it hasn’t been able to escape the excess capacity addition by market leader IndiGo impacting its revenues and also the infrastructure constraints at the key airports in India that restrict its operations in profitable markets. “Any period where market capacity growth is much in excess of natural market growth, creates downward pressure on market yields and revenues.
Adding to that challenge is shortage of slots at key airports, forcing new capacity to be deployed in market which cannot support it,” the airline said.