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IA suffers Rs 247cr loss

New Delhi, Dec. 6: Indian Airlines today reported a Rs 247-crore loss for the 2001-02 fiscal.

The airline’s board of directors, which met here today to approve the accounts, also decided to try reverse the ailing airline’s fortunes by dry leasing four ATR-320 aircraft and five Airbus 320s.

The five additional Airbus A320 aircraft will be dry leased for a period of three years; it could be extended by another two years. The planes are likely to be inducted between February and May next year.

The controversial 50-seater turbo-prop ATRs will be leased in for five years, mainly for deployment in the north-east and small feeder routes elsewhere.

Revenue earnings for the year stood at Rs 3,543.23 crore—lower than the budgeted estimates of Rs 3,636 crore. The airline, however, blamed external factors beyond its control for the losses which piled up this year.

IA officials said the company suffered due to the increase in exchange rate of the dollar with which it buys spares and components, a rise in input costs, high prices of aviation turbine fuel after April 1, 2001 and a hike in insurance premium as a result of the September 11 terror attacks.

IA officials pointed out that losses were a global phenomenon for airlines and cited International Air Transport Association forecasts which said member airlines will end the year with losses in excess of $ 12 billion as a result of the reduction in traffic by over 15 per cent in the aftermath of September 11 incidents.

Indian Airlines has reported an 8 per cent fall in passenger traffic after the incident.

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