Air India Express
A file photo of an Air India Express aircraft.Wikimedia commons

Air India Express, the budget carrier of government-owned Air India, has recorded net profit of Rs 415 crore for six months ending September. In the first half of the present financial year (April-September), the carrier recorded revenue of Rs 1,897 crore.

About 1.64 million passengers were carried by the airline during the six-month period. The airline increased its capacity by 21 percent by adding four new Boeing 737-800 NG to its fleet.

The new aircraft fly on the New Delhi-Dubai, New Delhi-Abu Dhabi, Mumbai-Dubai, Mumbai-Sharjah, Chandigarh-Sharjah, Tiruchirapalli-Sharjah and Kochi-Dammam routes. 

By the ending of the third quarter, the airline is expected to induct two more aircraft, taking the carrier's fleet size to 25. 

"With the enhanced fleet size, the airline plans strengthening of its presence in the North Indian markets and additional flight operations from its core markets in South India," the airline said.  

Air India Express turned profitable for the first time in the financial year 2015-2016, since it began operations 11 years ago. Several factors enabled the carrier to earn profit, including low jet fuel costs and better utilisation of fleet resulting in higher passenger load factor (PLF).

"The year witnessed passenger load factor of 82.3 per cent against 81.4 per cent the previous year while the average daily aircraft utilisation rose to 11.3 hours from 10.8 hours. This year, the airline carried 2.80 million passengers as against 2.62 million in the previous year," Air Indian Express said in a statement.