Despite higher aviation turbine fuel prices, IndiGo has been helped by its more fuel-efficient aircraft, the Airbus A320neos, and better sale and lease back gains, analysts at SBI Cap Securities have said.
The airlines’ relatively low aircraft ownership cost has been further fortified by rising gains under the sale and lease back with an estimate of $13 million per aircraft in FY18, up from $10 million earlier, “possibly on rising crude prices as demand for fuel efficient Neos that have a 15% lower fuel burn goes up”, said an August 20 SBI Cap Securities report.
The airline has found it challenging to keep these birds flying due to recurring engine trouble (Pratt & Whitney 1100 series) which saw the regulator grounding 11 of these aircraft earlier in March this year.
According to the report, A320neo sale and lease back incentive on a year-on-year basis on opening long term and short term deferred incentives was Rs 1,583 crore in FY17 and Rs 2,184 in FY18, an increase of 38% y-o-y. The sale and lease back incentives earned in FY17 were Rs 1,134 crore and Rs 1,062 crore in FY18, a dip of 6.3%. This drop can be attributed to the currency fluctuation in FY17 which was Rs64.5
to a dollar against Rs 67 to a dollar in FY18, but the incentives earned on sale and lease back/neo in dollar went up to $13 million per aircraft in FY18 v/s $11 million in FY17.
In FY18, IndiGo inducted 13 A320neos under the sale and lease back arrangement and the recurring engine issue impacted its capacity expansion and operations addition to 16.4%, which according to the management will be around 25% in FY19 bolstered by addition of the A320neos and also wide-body aircraft type along with A321LRs.
Fuel costs went up by 33.5 % in FY18. Recent IATA data show that for the months January to August exchange rate volatility against the dollar and the adjusted jet fuel prices in local currency terms have gone up 12% for India as the rupee weakened against the dollar. The rupee has depreciated 8.6% and the ATF prices in India have gone up 12%.
The impact of the grounding of the A320neos were, however, more evident in the June quarter results for FY18-19 for the budget carrier as the airline saw its maintenance costs inching up for the first quarter.