Bengaluru: Low-fare airline SpiceJet Ltd’s fiscal third-quarter profit declined 24% because of higher fuel prices and a drop in demand after the government invalidated high-value banknotes in a shock announcement in November.
Net profit fell to Rs181.1 crore in the three months ended 31 December from Rs239.9 crore in the year earlier, the company said in a statement to BSE on Tuesday.
Revenue rose 12.5% to Rs1,642.4 crore from Rs1,459.95 crore the year before. Still, it was the eighth straight quarter SpiceJet reported a profit after nearly shutting down in December 2014.
Ajay Singh, chairman and managing director of SpiceJet, attributed the decline in profits on high fuel prices and demonetisation denting demand for travel in what is typically the most profitable quarter for airlines.
SpiceJet’s will start inducting fuel-efficient Boeing Max planes starting next year, Singh said, adding that the new planes will help the airline save costs over the long term.
Last month, SpiceJet placed a $11 billion order to buy 100 Boeing 737 Max aircraft to expand operations.
“Our historic aircraft order signifies the end of the turnaround phase for SpiceJet and marks the beginning of a growth story. This order will help build an even stronger and more profitable airline. We will be relentless in reducing our costs and identifying new avenues for revenue generation,” he said.
SpiceJet, with about 13% domestic market share, has 343 daily flights to 45 cities with 32 Boeing 737NG and 17 Bombardier Q-400 planes.
SpiceJet’s profits mirror a similar drop in earnings for two other listed airlines in the December quarter. InterGlobe Aviation Ltd, which operates IndiGo, and Jet Airways India Ltd have reported a slump in profits in the three months ended 31 December.
IndiGo said third-quarter profit dropped 25% to Rs487.25 crore from Rs657.29 crore a year earlier while revenue rose 16.8% to Rs5,158.42 crore from Rs4,481.20 crore in the year-ago period.
Jet Airways’ profit slumped 69% to Rs142.38 crore from Rs.467.11 crore a year ago while revenue dropped to Rs3,344.62 crore from Rs3,608 crore a year ago.
Singh had said in mid-January that the December quarter will be a profitable one for SpiceJet.
SpiceJet stock rose 0.55% to Rs 64.35 on BSE, while the benchmark Sensex fell 0.04% to end at 28,339.31 points on Monday. The earnings were announced after the end of trading on Tuesday.