Jet Airways lands with a thud in Q4 as fuel costs increase
Among the three listed aviation companies, Jet Airways’ Q4 results were the most disappointing—the company made a loss at the Ebitda level
Mumbai: The financial results for airlines during the March quarter (Q4) were dismal, primarily because of rising crude oil prices.
But among the three listed Indian companies, Jet Airways (India) Ltd’s last quarter numbers were the most disappointing. The company made a loss at the Ebitda level. Ebitda, a measure of profitability, is short for earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization.
Sure, SpiceJet Ltd and IndiGo’s Ebitda weren’t enough to cover their cumulative depreciation and interest costs, respectively. But their financials look far better compared to the large consolidated Ebitda loss of Rs767 crore that Jet Airways made.
IndiGo is run by InterGlobe Aviation Ltd.
“At a time when crude prices are high and yields are down, it’s challenging for Jet to make profits given its high cost structure,” said an analyst who did not want to be named.
Over the last two years, air fares have remained flat while fuel prices have doubled, Jet Airways said in its results press statement.
The company maintains results were also adversely affected owing to a one-time maintenance charge of Rs253 crore and mark-to-market adjustment of Rs156 crore due to the weaker rupee.
Jet Airways’ revenue per available seat kilometre (RASK) for the quarter stood at Rs4.12. But cost per available seat kilometre (CASK) was higher at Rs4.63, thanks to the impact of higher fuel costs. RASK and CASK are measurements of unit revenues and costs, respectively, for airlines.
For Q4, the airline reported a pre-tax loss of Rs1,040 crore. This meant the company posted a loss for fiscal year 2018, reversing its profitable situation at the pre-tax level for the nine-month period ended December 2017.
Not surprisingly, investors punished the Jet Airways stock post results, dragging it down to a new 52-week low on Thursday. In any case, it’s not as if the shares have performed in recent months. So far in 2018, the stock has fallen as much as 53% after taking into account the 7% decline on Thursday.
Sure, the airline’s intention of reducing its non-fuel CASK would be helpful. But the Gulf region still remains a problem for the company’s international business.
Another problem in the visible future is that crude oil prices are refusing to come down. The skies, therefore, will continue to remain cloudy for the sector unless there is a meaningful increase in yields, a measure investors should keep a close eye on. Uncertainty on this front is likely to make investors wary of aviation stocks in general.