(Reuters) – InterGlobe Aviation Ltd, owner of India’s biggest airline by market share IndiGo, said its third-quarter profit slumped 75 percent, dragged down by higher crude prices and intense competition.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of IndiGo Airlines is pictured on passenger aircraft on the tarmac in Colomiers near Toulouse, France, July 10, 2018. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/File Photo

Its net profit was 1.91 billion rupees ($26.79 million) in the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with 7.62 billion rupees a year earlier, the company said.

Indian airlines had a rough year in 2018, plagued with higher crude prices and a weak rupee. Competition intensified to the extent that rival Jet Airways Ltd has been left discussing a restructuring plan with its lenders.

InterGlobe posted a quarterly loss three months ago, its first since debuting on the stock market in 2015.

For an interactive graphic on India’s biggest airlines by market share, click – https://tmsnrt.rs/2S3rKqG

InterGlobe’s expenses surged 50.6 percent to 80.38 billion rupees over October to December, while its revenue per available seat kilometre – a measure of its operating earnings – fell 3 percent to 3.70 rupees in the third quarter.

Passenger yields, which gauge the average fare paid per mile per customer, however, climbed 3.7 percent.

InterGlobe’s interim CEO Rahul Bhatia pointed out that the firm’s revenue per available seat kilometre improved over the last two months.

InterGlobe expects available seat kilometres – a measure of the airline’s passenger carrying capacity – to rise 34 percent in the fourth quarter.

IndiGo added 16 Airbus A320neos planes to its fleet during the quarter. The airline has been forced to ground its A320neo aircraft on several occasions due to issues with the plane’s Pratt & Whitney engines. India’s air safety watchdog last week ordered extra checks on the aircraft as part of new safety protocols.

($1 = 71.2850 rupees)

Reporting by Tanvi Mehta in BENGALURU; Editing by Himani Sarkar


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