Indian aviation sector to post loss of USD400m in 2010; Virgin Blue pax up 9% Aug-2010

Kingfisher Airlines’ shares soared 7.0% on Thursday, as Chairman Vijay Mallya denied reports the carrier has any “overdues” to oil marketing companies for the supply of air turbine fuel (ATF) by stating Kingfisher has “given them (oil marketing companies) a lot of money... We do not have any overdues”.

Mr Mallya also stated the carrier plans to defer the delivery schedule of A380s, A330s and A320s.  Kingfisher has placed orders for 67 aircraft, including five A380s, 42 A320s and 15 A330s. Mr Mallya stated the carrier’s fund-raising plans are on schedule despite reports it placed a proposed issue of global depositary receipts (GDRs) on hold.

Indian aviation to post loss of USD400m in 2010; debt burden of USD13bn

Also in the Indian market, IATA stated that while some of India’s carriers are now reporting profits, the Indian sector as a whole is still expected to post a loss of USD400 million in 2010, with the nation's carriers carrying a debt burden of USD13 billion.

Director General Giovanni Bisignani also noted the tremendous potential for Indian aviation which has a market of 42 million passengers domestically p/a and a further 34 million internationally.

IATA calls for end to international travel service tax; foreign ownership limits

IATA also called for a more coordinated cross-ministry government approach to shoring-up the gains made in India’s aviation industry and recommended the Indian Government scrap service tax on international travel and allow foreign airlines to acquire stakes in Indian carriers. 

Shares in Jet Airways and SpiceJet also gained yesterday, up 1.9% and 0.5%.

Virgin Blue welcomes interim approval of Etihad alliance

Shares in Virgin Blue gained 1.1% yesterday. The carrier yesterday welcomed the ACCC’s interim approval of their proposed alliance. Virgin Blue CEO and Managing Director, John Borghetti, said the approval by the ACCC meant the airlines would commence selling airfares between Australia and Abu Dhabi with connections on Etihad’s extensive network from 01-Oct-2010. Etihad CEO James Hogan added the carriers will look to further expand the partnership in the future. Together, Etihad and V Australia will move towards 27 weekly services between Abu Dhabi and Australia – including twice daily services between Abu Dhabi and Sydney, daily Melbourne-Abu Dhabi flights and six frequencies per week between Abu Dhabi and Brisbane.

Virgin Blue reported a 9.2% increase in passenger numbers in Aug-2010 to 1.7 million – with international pax up 27.7% to 261,202 and domestic pax increasing 6.3% to 1.4 million – with an average load factor of 79.7% (+1.9 ppts).

Virgin Blue int’l pax numbers and domestic pax numbers: Aug-2009 to Aug-2010

Virgin Blur domestic PLF and Int’l PLF: Aug-2009 to Aug-2010

Skywest pax up

Also in the South Pacific, shares in Skywest remained neutral, as the carrier reported a 8.5% gain in passenger numbers in Aug-2010 to 34,000, with load factors increasing 17 ppts to 58.5%.

Asia Pacific selected airlines daily share price movements (% change):  23-Sep-2010