IndiGo flight 0121
India's largest airline, IndiGo, saw its costs shoot up significantly during the three months to end March, and then came the COVID-19 shutdown of operations. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Bengaluru: The parent of India's largest airline IndiGo reported a quarterly loss as expenses rose, and did not provide a forecast on capacity due to a hit to operations from the COVID-19 pandemic. Interglobe Aviation, which had been grappling with higher maintenance costs at the carrier amid slowing demand, was forced to halt all operations as India went into a lockdown in March to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Aircraft repair-and-maintenance expenses for the fourth quarter rose 75.6 per cent to 16.81 billion rupees ($223.71 million), raising the company's overall costs, excluding spending for fuel, higher by 45.6 per cent. Cost per available seat kilometer, including fuel, rose 25.8 per cent to 4.21 rupees.

Higher expenses led to a net loss of 8.73 billion Indian rupees ($116.19 million) for the fourth quarter ended March 31, compared to a profit of 5.90 billion rupees a year earlier.

Indigo, which dominates the domestic market, in April asked its employees to go on leave without pay for a few days every month, while some of its senior management took pay cuts. After a two-month halt, India last week allowed domestic airlines to start a third of its operations until August 24.