New Delhi: SpiceJet Ltd on Wednesday reported a 32% rise in fiscal third quarter profit from a year ago on higher demand for air travel, allowing the low-cost airline to extract higher fares.

Net profit rose to Rs239.99 crore in the three months ended 31 December, from Rs181.14 crore in the corresponding period of last fiscal.

Total income during the period rose 26% to Rs21,109 crore from Rs16,704 crore in the previous year.

Fares during the quarter were, on an average, 9% higher than a year ago. Average airfares stood at Rs3,905, compared to Rs3,584 the year before. Flight occupancy during the quarter was 95%.

On Wednesday, SpiceJet shares jumped 3.98% to close at Rs134.50 on the BSE, while the benchmark Sensex shed 0.3% to 34,082.71 points.

“Twelve successive profitable quarters, record aircraft orders, industry’s best load factor, high on-time performance and constantly exploring new growth avenues—SpiceJet remains firmly on track on its long-term growth strategy. This has been yet another great quarter for us and I am very pleased with the exceptional performance of my team," SpiceJet chairman and managing director Ajay Singh said in statement.

Before December 2018, the company plans to add 12-15 Boeing 737s and six to nine Bombardier Q400s.

SpiceJet currently flies 60 planes with 402 average daily flights to 51 destinations.

The airline said its new generation Boeing 737 Max aircraft from an existing order of 200 planes will start coming in from August.

The planes will be able to save 8-9% in fuel costs.

On Bombardier Q400 aircraft, which starts delivering from September 2018, seat count has been increased to 86 (from the current 78 seats).

This will enhance the seats flown in the regional and Udan (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) routes, the airline said, referring to the regional flying scheme.

Rival InterGlobe Aviation Ltd-run IndiGo, which operates India’s biggest budget airline IndiGo, posted a 56% increase in December quarter profit to Rs762 crore, boosted by foreign exchange gains and credits from Pratt & Whitney to compensate for glitches in engines that grounded the airline’s Airbus planes.

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