New Delhi: Jet Airways India Ltd on Wednesday reported a 45.9% drop in standalone net profit to Rs165.2 crore in the December quarter from a year earlier, hit by a sharp jump in fuel expense.

Net profit fell despite a 10.43% increase in revenue from operations to Rs6,086.2 crore during the third quarter when both domestic and international traffic showed growth.

Higher aircraft lease rentals and employee costs also hurt as total expenses rose to Rs6,184 crore from Rs5,708.5 crore a year earlier, the company said in a statement to stock exchanges.

Total income rose 6.9% to Rs6,349 crore from a year ago, the company said.

The airline’s fuel expenses rose nearly 29% to Rs1,840 crore as an increase in oil prices in world markets hit the aviation sector.

Jet fuel, which cost domestic airlines Rs52,541 per kilolitre in Delhi as on 1 January 2017, fell to Rs47,000 per kilolitre by July before steadily rising to Rs57,460 per kilolitre as on 1 January 2018.

Higher expenses, especially fuel costs, also dented the company’s net profit in the first nine months of the current fiscal year, for which it reported a net profit of Rs268.4 crore, a decline of 70% from the Rs880.1 crore figure it reported a year earlier.

During the April-December period, total income showed a 5.4% jump to Rs17,988 crore.

According to K. Ravichandran, senior vice-president and group head of corporate ratings at credit rating agency Icra Ltd, crude oil prices are likely to remain in the $60-70 a barrel range over the next couple of months in the absence of any geopolitical factors leading to a spike. This may soften petroleum product prices a bit, including aviation turbine fuel, depending on the demand-supply situation, said Ravichandran.

On Wednesday, shares of Jet Airways (India) Ltd fell 2.17%, or Rs17.80, to Rs803.45 while the benchmark Sensex shed 0.42%, or 144.52 points, to end the day at 34,155.95 points.

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