Low-cost carrier SpiceJet on Tuesday reported a profit of Rs 56.3 crore for the quarter ended March 31 as against Rs 46.2 crore in the same quarter of previous year.
In comparison to Q3 FY19 (October to December 2018), the airline managed to generate higher profits despite challenges on account of seasonality and - more importantly - grounding of its 13 MAX aircraft.
The reported quarter profit does not include any form of reimbursements or compensation on the grounded aircraft and for which the company continues to work with manufacturer Boeing.
The airline reported a net loss of Rs 316.1 crore in FY 2018-19. "SpiceJet has posted a strong recovery in last two quarters after suffering a loss of Rs 427.5 crore in the first two quarters due to steep increase in fuel costs and sudden depreciation of the rupee," said Chairman and Managing Director Ajay Singh.
"This recovery comes despite the unprecedented challenges we faced during Q4 FY2019 which saw the grounding of as many as 13 of our MAX planes," he said in a statement.
"With a massive fleet expansion this fiscal, a favourable operating environment, a likely return of the B737 MAX in July, significant improvements in yields and prime slots at key airports, we are confident of a strong performance for FY2020," he added.
Operating revenues were at Rs 2,531 crore for the fourth quarter and Rs 9,113 crore for fiscal 2019. On an EBITDA basis, the profit is Rs 123 crore for quarter ending March and Rs 48 crore for the fiscal 2019.
The grounding of SpiceJet's Boeing 737 MAX fleet could have led to huge cancellations and passenger disruptions. But the airline moved swiftly by mounting additional frequencies, inducting planes on wet lease and rationalising and optimising the use of its existing fleet.
Further, this year saw a 25 per cent increase in aviation turbine fuel prices and 9 per cent depreciation of the Indian rupee that resulted in cost escalations of Rs 695 crore and Rs 285 crore respectively.
Since April 1, the airline has announced 106 new flights. Its fleet size stands at 100 and the company has hired over 1,000 trained professionals to chart the next stage of its growth. "The company has robust systems and processes to scale its operations, which was demonstrated as it added 25 airplanes in 30 days," said SpiceJet in a statement.