The second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic has battered the April to June earnings of India’s largest airline IndiGo. On Tuesday, InterGlobe Aviation, the parent company of IndiGo, reported a staggering loss of ₹3,174 crore for the first quarter of fiscal 2022 as compared to ₹2,842 crore in the same period a year ago. “The number of passengers traveling declined sharply in the months of May and June,” said Ronojoy Dutta, CEO, InterGlobe Aviation, in an earnings release.

Last year, from end-March to the last week of May, India was in a complete lockdown on account of the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. This year, though, the second wave of the pandemic had peaked in May forcing severe travel restrictions that saw daily passenger traffic volumes dip to 50,000. “With the second Covid-19 wave receding, we are seeing a measured recovery in bookings for July and August,” he added. Daily passenger traffic is now over 190,000 a day, but hasn’t yet breached the 200,000 level as reported in April this year.

IndiGo operated a peak of 1,262 daily flights and a minimum of 318 flights during the quarter, including non-scheduled flights. “Notwithstanding the Industry’s present challenges, we remain firmly optimistic about IndiGo’s future. Our entire focus during this pandemic has been to manage our cash balances, run a high- quality airline and to continue to build our capabilities and be prepared for the post Covid-19 environment,” Dutta said.

Given the airline’s strong balance sheet—with total cash reserves of Rs 17,067 crore, including free cash of ₹5,620 crore—it continues to evaluate “the timing and the size" of a potential qualified institutional placement (QIP). In May, the board of directors of InterGlobe Aviation had approved raising upto ₹3,000 crore through a QIP process in a bid to infuse liquidity in to the company.

Total income for airline in the quarter ended June 2021 was ₹3,170 crore, an increase of 177.2% over the same period last year. While passenger ticket revenues were ₹2,297 crore, an increase of 292.5%, ancillary revenues were ₹668 crore, an increase of 296% compared to the same period last year. However, its total expenses in the quarter surged by 59% as fuel costs alone spiked by 854%.

As of 30th June 2021, the airline had a fleet of 277 aircraft including 85 A320 CEOs, 122 A320 NEOs, 41 A321 NEOs and 29 ATRs, a net decrease of eight aircraft during the quarter. Shares of InterGlobe Aviation ended 1.88% lower at ₹1,708.80 a piece on the S&P BSE Sensex.

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