'Airlines expected to post Rs 81 bn operating profit in 2016'

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Mumbai, Dec 30: Domestic carriers are expected to post an operating profit of Rs 81 billion in fiscal 2016, a complete "U-turn" from the Rs 15 billion loss posted in fiscal 2014, rating agency Crisil Research said in a report.

Net profit remained a distant destination for Air India, Jet and Spice Jet and can be reached only after massive recapitalisation of Rs 350 billion, the report said.

Jet Airways

The last few months have seen tailwinds converging for India's airlines such as improvement in demand and therefore passenger load factors (PLFs), a largely stable rupee-dollar exchange rate, and most importantly, a steep fall in crude oil prices.

"At an aggregate level, domestic carriers are expected to post an operating profit of Rs 81 billion in fiscal 2016, a complete U-turn from Rs 15 billion loss posted in fiscal 2014. That translates into a spectacular 14 percentage point improvement in operating profit margin to around 11 per cent in fiscal 2016," Crisil said.

"We believe Indian airline companies will have one of the best business environments to operate in for a long time. Falling crude oil prices are a big positive."

"We expect about 25 per cent lower air turbine fuel prices for fiscal 2016 compared with fiscal 2014. More importantly, the fall is accompanied by an improving demand scenario, unlike fiscal 2010 when the players were unable to benefit significantly due to weak demand," Crisil Research Senior Director, Industry and Customised Research, Prasad Koparkar said.

Given their current financial position and improvement in PLF, airlines are likely to retain a large proportion of the benefit of lower crude prices. We could also see a 2-4 per cent increase in average realisations of airlines due to lower discounts being offered, he added.

PTI

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