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India's top airline IndiGo posts quarterly loss on pandemic hit

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Interglobe Aviation Ltd, which runs India’s largest airline IndiGo, reported a quarterly loss on Thursday as pandemic-related travel restrictions continued to dent its operations.

FILE PHOTO: An IndiGo Airlines Airbus A320 aircraft takes off in Colomiers near Toulouse, France, October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/File Photo

The global aviation industry has been among the worst hit by the pandemic and related travel restrictions.

The airline said it expects third-quarter average seat kilometers (ASKs) to be around 60% of its ASKs for the same quarter a year earlier.

“We are slowly but surely stair-stepping our way back to normal capacity,” Chief Executive Officer Ronojoy Dutta said in a statement.

“Once we are back at 100% capacity, we will have lower unit costs, a stronger product, more efficient fleet and a robust network,” he said.

The company’s second-quarter net loss came in at 11.95 billion rupees ($161.61 million), compared with a loss of 10.66 billion rupees last year.

IndiGo, which dominates the domestic market, said its total debt as of September stood at 254,194 million rupees, up 28% from last year.

In June, IndiGo said it would cut up to 40 billion rupees in costs and speed up the return of older planes to leasing companies in an attempt to cope with the pandemic-incurred hit to business.

Revenue from operations plunged 66% to 27.41 billion rupees, the airline operator said on Thursday.

(Corrects to remove reference to record quarterly loss in headline and biggest quarterly loss in paragraph 1)

Reporting by Chandini Monnappa in Bengaluru and Aditi Shah in New Delhi, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips