SpiceJet set to announce results for two quarters amid row over unpaid PF dues, legal woes: What to expect on July 15


SpiceJet, once a leading carrier in the country, has been getting stuck in one obstacle after another. Much like its flights, its results have been delayed too and while companies declare results for Q1FY25, SpiceJet has announced that it would declare results of Q3FY24, Q4FY24 and full year FY24 on July 15, 2024.

This comes amidst repeated news of the airline facing headwinds, with the latest being not depositing the Provident Fund (PF) amount which is mandated by law. The Delhi High Court has pulled up the airline with respect to the return of an engine, which the airline was directed to but has not returned. At the same time, it has wet-leased a widebody aircraft and a handful of narrowbody aircraft to tide over the shortage of planes.

ALSO READ: SpiceJet has not paid 11,581 employees’ provident fund dues for two and a half years: Report

Finances remain shaky

SpiceJet has lost 5,236 crore since COVID began, a period of 15 quarters – since the results of two quarters are not yet out. The airline relied on “possible income from Boeing” as compensation to shore up its books leading up to such a time when the MAX was flying again and the compensations stopped. It remains unclear how much has actually been paid. The airline had 13 MAX 8 aircraft at the time when flying the MAX again was allowed. Issues with lessors meant that the airline now has only seven, with six being returned.

The auditors have time and again raised doubts on the airline being a “going concern” and while there remain challenges with lessors, past owners, employee dues – the airline continues to function, even when it repeatedly makes news about delays.

ALSO READ: SpiceJet faces yet another insolvency case from engine lessor

This will be the first result announcement since the airline announced a fund infusion in excess of 2,000 crore from over 60 entities. The airline had said it would use the funds to get back grounded planes to air.

Key Numbers

The airline had a domestic market share of 5.6 per cent in Q3FY24, while it was 5.4 per cent in Q4FY24. The airline remained fifth in domestic market share, just ahead of Akasa Air.

As of May, the airline is a mere shadow of its past and operated fewer domestic flights (4,004) and carried fewer domestic passengers (554,464) than it did at the peak of its troubles in December 2014 when it had a ground stop due for a few hours. In December 2014, the airline had carried 671,292 domestic passengers on 5,982 flights. International flights have marginally increased at 858 in May 2024 vs 669 in December 2014 and passengers carried being 143,066 in May 24 vs 86,957 in December 2014. December 2014 had only 64.04 lakh domestic passengers in India, while May 2024 saw 137.96 lakh, over double of what it was in 2014. It signifies how SpiceJet has not only shrunk but in a growing market has been able to make little or no dent, even after the fall of two major airlines since then, viz. Jet Airways and Go FIRST.

The airline has shrunk even as the market has grown. The last year was the best ever in terms of numbers with India being one of the first set of countries to cross the pre-COVID numbers. This year, while the industry reports higher passengers, SpiceJet shrunk 34 per cent in terms of domestic departures, 27 per cent for domestic passengers, 8 per cent and 6 per cent in international departures and passengers, respectively, year over year.

Compared to the second half of the year, for which the results are also being declared, the drop is smaller with domestic departures and passengers seeing a drop of 22 per cent and 19 per cent respectively and on the international side, the departures and passengers seeing a drop of modest 5 per cent each.

Competition?

IndiGo is the only other listed company in India and also the market leader. It is hard to believe now that IndiGo and SpiceJet were neck to neck a decade ago in terms of market share and finances. IndiGo declared a profit of 2,998 crore in Q3FY24 while its Q4FY24 profits stood at 1,894 crore. The airline closed the year with a profit of 8,170 crore.

ALSO READ: SpiceJet says lessor returns one plane taken back during crisis

IndiGo has gone far ahead now. Akasa Air overtook SpiceJet again last month. With more deliveries lined up for Akasa Air, SpiceJet will find it tough to make a comeback unless it can time its cash infusion and expansion with the launch of airports at Navi Mumbai and Jewar. How and if the airline can do it, remains an eternal question.

Tail Note

More often than not, SpiceJet is in the news for the wrong reasons. Long flight delays, court cases, and statutory dues not being paid are the major ones. A spate of settlements with lessors and fund infusion announcements have not helped the airline in any manner as it struggles to get the capacity back in the market and continues to rely on wet-lease as a measure of expanding capacity.

With a debt which has ballooned over the years, any comeback for SpiceJet hinges on fund infusion and renewal of fleet. Even with profits, the airline will find it difficult to repay its liabilities. The fact that the airline has not been able to return many of the grounded planes flying and is relying on wet-leases is an indicator that its financial struggles are not over.

What will the results indicate? It will possibly let the market know the debt position primarily.

HomeCompaniesCompany ResultsSpiceJet set to announce results for two quarters amid row over unpaid PF dues, legal woes: What to expect on July 15

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