India’s airlines under renewed pressure to raise cash or downsizing risks
India’s airlines are under renewed pressure to raise cash or face the risk of having to downsize, consolidate or have their planes repossessed by lessors as a surge of Covid-19 infections roil travel.
Passenger traffic fell nearly 30 per cent in April from a month before and has halved again so far in May, forcing even the country’s biggest and most cashed-up carrier, IndiGo, to act.
IndiGo’s parent, Interglobe Aviation, on Monday said its board has approved raising up to Rs 3,000 crore through the sale of shares to institutional investors.
With traffic plummeting, IndiGo’s cash burn is expected to rise to $3.4 million a day — a level last seen in September — from $2 million a day at the end of 2020, an analyst said.
While IndiGo is seen as a survivor, the situation is worse for smaller carriers, particularly those without large backers, some of which were struggling before the novel coronavirus hit, analysts say.
“India hasn’t provided much government assistance or support so the private airlines will need to turn to the private sector,” aviation analyst Brendan Sobie said.
The cash call comes as Indian carriers are expected to report total losses of $4-4.5 billion in the financial year that ended on March 31 and will lose a similar amount this year, aviation consultancy CAPA India said in a note this week.
SpiceJet and GoAir could come under pressure to reduce capacity, find partners or consolidate, particularly as aircraft lessors take a harder line.
The airline is in talks with lenders for debt and private investors for further capitalisation, GoAir plans to raise up to Rs 25 billion through an initial public offering.