AirAsia India shows 79% growth in December with 1.42 mn passengers

AirAsia India carried 1.42 million passengers in the December quarter, a growth of 79 per cent over the same quarter in 2016. Although its load factor slipped by one percentage point to 85, it was compensated by an 80-per cent increase in capacity, the low-cost carrier said.

 
Air Asia MD and CEO Amar Abrol  

For the full year of 2017, the airline, which is a joint venture between the Tata Group and Malaysia's Air Asia Group, carried 4.44 million passengers, up over 81 per cent from 2016, and recorded an average full-year load factor of 87 per cent, up 1 percentage point from 2016.

Air Asia India, which is keen to fly overseas this year, has ended the quarter with a fleet size of 14 aircraft after adding one plane in the quarter and six in the year.

In the quarter ended December, it commenced operations on three new routes - Bangalore, Bhubaneswar and Hyderabad, ramped up the frequency in the Bangalore-Hyderabad sector but reduced the frequency on Bangalore-Pune sector.

Currently, it operates over 100 daily flights connecting 16 destinations with a fleet of 15 Airbus A320s.

Earlier this month, managing director and chief executive Amar Abrol had told PTI that he was hopeful of breaking even by the end of 2018 or in the first week of 2019.

He expects it to be 21-fleet airline by the financial year-end, which will make it eligible to begin overseas flights.

In the September 2017 quarter, it had greatly narrowed its net losses to Rs16.4 crore against Rs62.12 crore a year ago on revenue of Rs395 crore, which rose from Rs 175.13 crore a year ago.

Abrol said the Bengaluru-based carrier will be completing four years this June and is also likely to double its passenger traffic to 8 million this year from almost 4 million in 2017.

"We expect this number to go to 12 million in 2019 and by 2020, we hope to fly 15 million," he said.

AirAsia Group chief executive Tony Fernandes had also announced a public float for the India joint venture wherein his group holds 49 per cent.