Air travel to pick up in FY22: Dutta

Budget carrier IndiGo expects domestic travel demand to pick up once again by the third quarter of FY22, and that for international travel by the fourth quarter.

“February 2021 was the best month post COVID-19,” said CEO Ronojoy Dutta, during an earnings conference call on Monday.

“Bookings on certain days peaked at approximately 80% of pre-COVID-19 levels. Our best guess scenario is that we will hit February 2021 domestic travel level by third quarter of FY 2022. And, meaningful recovery of international traffic will probably be pushed to the fourth quarter of 2022.”

The airline had reported a loss of ₹5,806 crore for FY21 compared with a loss of ₹233 crore in FY20.

However, cargo demand has brought some respite for the airline. IndiGo’s cargo revenue increased by 9.6% compared with the previous year due to the demand for transporting masks, PPE kits, medical equipment and vaccines.

The airline is making efforts to strengthen its balance sheet and raise ₹45 billion by securing credit lines from lenders and entering into sale-and-leaseback arrangement for new aircraft, its CFO Jiten Chopra, said. The board has also approved raising ₹30 billion through a Qualified Institutional Placement (QIP) process.

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