India's Jet Airways shows $73m quarterly loss

Indian carrier Jet Airways, which is set to sell a minority stake to Abu Dhabi-based Etihad, on Thursday posted its second straight quarterly loss, hit by lower income and high fuel prices. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS
Indian carrier Jet Airways, which is set to sell a minority stake to Abu Dhabi-based Etihad, on Thursday posted its second straight quarterly loss, hit by lower income and high fuel prices. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

MUMBAI (AFP) - Indian carrier Jet Airways, which is set to sell a minority stake to Abu Dhabi-based Etihad, on Thursday posted its second straight quarterly loss, hit by lower income and high fuel prices.

The carrier reported a consolidated net loss of 3.55 billion rupees (S$73 million) in the three months to June, against a profit of 247 million rupees in the same period last year.

Revenues fell 12.3 per cent to 40.64 billion rupees, from a year earlier, the airline said in a statement.

"The sharp devaluation of the rupee versus the dollar, the steep rise in airport charges and high fuel prices have impacted the earnings," Jet's acting chief executive Captain Hameed Ali said in the statement.

India's airline industry continues to go through "turbulent times" due to a slow down in the Indian economy, resulting in sluggish demand, the statement said.

Jet also reported a net loss of 4.95 billion rupees in the January-March quarter.

Last month, India's foreign investment panel approved a plan for Jet to sell a 24 percent stake to Etihad Airways in a deal worth US$349 million (S$442 nillion).

The Etihad deal is expected to help Jet reduce its debt and boost revenues due to improved connectivity, the Indian carrier has said.

The deal, announced in April, still needs to be approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The deal is regarded as a key test of India's ability to attract foreign investors to its ailing airline sector, after the government eased restrictions on foreign investment last September in a range of sectors.

India is one of the biggest aviation markets in the world as its large and growing middle-class scrambles for air travel, spurred by rising incomes.

But the sector, once vaunted as a symbol of India's economic vibrancy, has seen its fortunes fade in the face of aggressive fare rivalry, a slowing economy, rundown infrastructure, high airport charges and expensive fuel.