22:49 GMT +311 December 2018
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    An IndiGo Airlines aircraft prepares to land as a man paddles his cycle rickshaw in Ahmedabad, India, October 26, 2015

    Indian Airline Industry to Incur $1.9 Billion Loss Amid Low Fare Competition

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    Indigo, India’s biggest private airline, reported the lowest quarterly profit in three years, with earnings down by 97 percent. Except for IndiGo, most Indian carriers have cash balances to cover their expenses for only 2-3 weeks, according to an estimate released by the aviation consulting firm CAPA India.

    Cutthroat competition among airlines operating from India has significantly dented the profit earnings of domestic airlines, according to an aviation consultancy that has forecast a $1.9 billion loss this financial year, mainly due to rising costs and low fares.

    Consulting firm CAPA India, in a report released on Monday, forecasts an industry loss of up to $1.9 billion in the financial year ending March 31, 2019, up from the January estimate of $430 million to $460 million.

    READ MORE: Immense Opportunities in India For Aeroflot – Aviation Consultant

    Nevertheless, the Narendra Modi-led Indian government continues to thump its chest over lowering airfares during its tenure. 

    "Today, airfare is less than that of an auto-rickshaw. You'll ask how is that possible? When two people take an auto-rickshaw they pay a fare of INR 10 which means they're charged INR 5/km but when you go by air you are charged INR 4/km. So on a per km basis, our airfare is among the lowest in the world," Jayant Sinha, India's minister of state for aviation, said while speaking at the International Aviation Summit on Tuesday.

    Meanwhile, owing to the government's push for air connectivity to smaller cities, Indian airliners have recorded nearly 90 percent occupancy as domestic passengers have more than doubled over the past four years. 

    READ MORE: No Bidder Comes Forward to Buy India's National Carrier

    "While it is easy to find Indian passengers who want to fly, it's very difficult for airlines to make money," Alexandre de Juniac, director general of the International Air Transport Association, said at the Aviation Summit.

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    Tags:
    air traffic, occupancy, price drop, competition, Civil Aviation Authority, India
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