In what comes as a major setback to Air India’s (AI) government-mandated turnaround plan, minister of state for civil aviation Mahesh Sharma told Parliament on Tuesday that only 9 out of 370 daily flights of the flag carrier are currently profitable. Of the 120 international flights, only 3 make money, while on the domestic, front 6 break even.
This assertion, which is in the form of a written reply to the Lok Sabha, is a stark contrast to recent claims by the AI management that performance is improving across several operational parameters such as passenger load factors and yields. AI officials have said that two-thirds of its flights now meet variable costs like fuel and other airport charges.
These costs, however, do not include interest costs and staff salaries. The routes AI makes money on are Delhi-Leh, Delhi-Kolkata, Leh-Jammu, Delhi-Srinagar, Srinagar-Leh and Delhi-Hyderabad-Vijayawada. While most of these routes see limited competition, this also means that the carrier is making losses on Delhi-Mumbai route. Delhi and Mumbai airports account for about 60 per cent of all national air traffic. The three international routes registering profits are Cochin-Kozhikode-Jeddah, Kozhikode-Sharjah and Kolkata-Yangon. FE
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