Air India Express incurs loss first time in seven years due to Covid

Amid the losses that the aviation sector incurred during the Covid pandemic, Air India Express, India’s first budget airline on regional international routes, reported a net loss – for the first time in seven years – of Rs 72.33 crore in FY2022, against a net profit of Rs 98.21 crore in FY2021.Air India Express operates direct point-to-point services connecting primarily Tier 2/ Tier 3 cities in India with destinations in the Gulf/Middle East and South East Asia, with a fleet of 24 Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft in an all-economy configuration.In January 2022, Air India Express, together with its parent company Air India, was successfully privatised, with ownership returning back to the Tata group that had initially founded Air India.The airline industry has been among the most deeply impacted by Covid-19. The demand decline was unprecedented, and air travel came to a virtual halt.In India, international air travel was suspended from March 22, 2020 and subsequently, domestic air travel was suspended on March 25, 2020.While the markets opened gradually through the year 2020-21, recovery was uncertain as also uneven, with international travel recovery lagging behind domestic.Air India Express, with almost all its capacity deployed internationally, was hit hard due to restrictions in international travel, and particularly exposed to the risk of uncertain recovery.Air India Express fleet comprises 24 Boeing 737 planes in Air India Express’ fleet. Total income and expenses in FY2022 were Rs 3,522 crore and Rs 3,251 crore, respectively.The government launched a historic evacuation mission to repatriate Indian citizens stranded in various countries around the globe.Air India Express was entrusted with the task for evacuating Indian citizens in South Asia, Gulf/Middle East and South-East Asia.The airline operated 5,801 Vande Bharat Mission (VBM)/Air Bubble missions carrying 1.47 million passengers in 2020- 21 and operated 7945 flights carrying 1.75 million passengers in 2021-22 (April to January).