New Delhi: Two key executives, including chief commercial officer Samyukth Sridharan, at low-fare carrier SpiceJet Ltd have resigned at a time when the airline is expanding regional operations and set to post a loss this fiscal.

Moving on: SpiceJet chief commercial officer Samyukth Sridharan. By Pradeep Gaur/Mint

Sridharan, who joined the airline four-and-a-half-years ago, was one of the few top managers at the airline who had stayed back after Kalanithi Maran took control of the carrier in 2010. Sridharan declined to comment on the reason for his exit.

SpiceJet’s associate vice-president (legal) and company secretary A.K. Maheshwary, who has been with the firm for the past decade, has also resigned, the officials said.

Mills did not reply to a text message and a phone call seeking comments.

“SpiceJet has always struggled to have a stable management structure. Frequent changes in the top order is a big negative," said Kapil Kaul, South Asia chief executive for consultancy Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (Capa).

The exit could affect the airline’s fiscal performance at a time airlines are struggling with high costs and low yields, Kaul said. “SpiceJet will post, like most in the industry, a large loss for the current fiscal and the uncertainty at the top increases near-term challenges," he said.

SpiceJet is the fourth largest airline in the country and is adding 15 Bombardier Q400 regional aircraft to its fleet to expand into smaller towns and cities. The Q400 aircraft is flying in the country for the first time and the carrier has been focusing on adding new city pairs to its network.

SpiceJet, which reported 101.16 crore and 61.45 crore profit in the past two fiscals ended March 2011, has posted losses in the first two quarters of the current fiscal. It lost a combined 312 crore in the first two quarters, or nearly double the profit it made in the two preceding years.

The company is expected to report third quarter earnings this month.

The airline is estimated to post a loss of 163.5 core in the third quarter while Jet Airways (India) Ltd (excluding the JetLite unit) is expect to report a 325 crore loss, according to estimates by Mumbai-based brokerage firm Fortune Financial Services (India) Ltd.

Air India, Kingfisher Airlines Ltd, Jet Airways, SpiceJet and GoAir may report a combined record loss of $2.5 billion in the year to March, the worst ever performance of airlines since 2004, according to Capa.

SpiceJet shares rose 4.6% to 20.50 on BSE on Friday, outperforming the benchmark Sensex’s 0.73% gain.

tarun.s@livemint.com

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