Disinvestment-bound Air India registered around 11 per cent growth in revenue, as the airline’s fiscal and performance parameters were good in the last financial year, according to its chief Pradeep Singh Kharola.
The loss-making national carrier also recorded 80 per cent passenger load factor in 2017-18 amid the government preparing for its strategic disinvestment.
Kharola on Thursday said the performance parameters of the airline had been good in the last financial year. The load factor was around 80 per cent and revenue growth was in the range of 11 per cent, he added. “… the financials are being firmed up but fiscal parameters have been good (in 2017-18),” the Chairman and Managing Director said. In 2016-17, the airline raked in total revenue of Rs 22,177.68 crore compared to Rs 20,610.33 crore in the same period a year ago, as per the annual report.
About the carrier’s On-Time Performance (OTP) in the last fiscal, Kharola said there has been a “marked improvement” on an year-on-year basis. He was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a conference here.
On March 28, the government came out with the preliminary information memorandum for the strategic disinvestment of Air India, wherein it plans to offload 76 per cent as well as cede management control to private players. In February, the civil aviation ministry said Air India has been “consistently improving” its overall performance and more than doubled its operating profit to Rs 298.03 crore in 2016-17.
During the same period, the airline’s net loss widened to Rs 5,765.16 crore. In 2015-16, Air India had an operating profit of Rs 105 crore while net loss stood at Rs 3,836.77 crore.
“Air India has been consistently improving its overall financial and operational performance since the implementation of the turnaround plan by the government,” Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha had told the Lok Sabha on February 8.
The previous UPA government, in 2012, had approved a turnaround plan under which Air India is to receive a total equity infusion worth Rs 30,231 crore up to 2021 subject to meeting certain performance thresholds.
As part of the turnaround plan, Air India has been taking various measures, including rationalisation of routes and enhanced utilisation of aircraft. According to the preliminary information memorandum, issued on March 28, the government will retain 24 per cent stake in Air India and the winning bidder would be required to stay invested in the airline for at least three years.
The proposed disinvestment would include profit-making Air India Express and joint venture AISATS. The latter is an equal joint venture between the national carrier and Singapore-based SATS Ltd.