US aircraft maker Boeing's troubles with its highly successful B737 MAX 8 planes have hit the share valuation of its only two users in India, SpiceJet and Jet Airways. The shares of Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE)-listed SpiceJet, which has 13 of these highly fuel-efficient planes in operation, plunged early in the day after reports emerged that aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had asked all airlines to ground before 4 pm all aircraft of the B737 MAX family that had been involved in two air crashes in five months. On the other hand, InterGlobe Aviation's IndiGo shares surged as the prospect of higher price realisation from the grounding of rival carriers' aircraft.
An Ethiopian Airline MAX airliner crashed a few minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa en route to Nairobi killing all the 157 people aboard in an accident said to be similar to that of an Indonesian Lion Air Max plane in on October 29 last year killing 189 people.
SpiceJet closed at Rs 77.15, down Rs 1.65, a decline of Rs 2.09 per cent, on a day when the benchmark index continued its surge closing at 37,752, about 216 points higher, a change of 0.58 per cent. The share opened at RS 74, hit a high of Rs 77.90, before sliding to the day's low of Rs 72.50. Ever since new of the Ethiopian air crash spread and several nations began grounding the MAX family aircraft, the SpiceJet share that was trading at Rs 84.65 on Monday began declining, defying the market's bull rally. The share hit a low of Rs 74.25 on Tuesday on Tuesday before recovering somewhat. The share was on a slow recovery from its 52-week low of Rs 60.60 that it hit on October 3, last year. The share's 52-week high of Rs 142 was on April 9, 2018.
Following the aviation authorities' order to ground the MAX aircraft, SpiceJet, which has more than 150 aircraft of the same Boeing family on order, has announced several flight cancellations and rescheduling. A broadcast news channel said two of its B737 MAX aircraft deployed on international sectors would be withdrawn from service only later in the evening after their return to home base.
The share of Jet Airways, the only other operator of B737 MAX aircraft in India in BSE and NSE nosedived, though its five MAX aircraft are no longer available to the airline because the lessors have grounded them over payment defaults. The cash-strapped Jet Airways, in the midst of a funding crisis, has already been suffering from operational issues with nearly 60 of its 120 aircraft unavailable for operations because of the payment default and technical issues. On BSE the Jet Airways share closed at Rs 240.60, down Rs 5.05, a change of 2.06 per cent. The share opened at Rs 241.70, hit a high of Rs 242.80 and then slid all the way to a low of Rs 236.70. The airline's share has been having a rollercoaster ride over the past several months because of the continuing board room drama and issues with lenders and other stakeholders. The Jet share was on a path of recovery after the lenders reportedly neared a debt resolution programme for the crippled airline, rising to about Rs 252.90 on Tuesday. However, it slid to a low of Rs 236.70 on Wednesday around 3.30pm because of worries that even a debt resolution deal would not make it possible for the airline to bring the grounded aircraft back to air. The share that suffered a slump from its 52-week high of Rs 732 touched on March 16, 2018, to hit the 52-week low of Rs 171.90 on October 1, 2018, was on a slow recovery.
The Indigo share closed on the BSE at Rs 1,301.45, up Rs 26.85, a change of 2.11 per cent, performing better than the benchmark index. The share opened at Rs 1,279, went down to Rs 1,278, but hit an intra-day high of Rs 1,325 as the news of the grounding of MAX aircraft emerged. The company's market cap has steadily risen to Rs 49,836 crore as the scrip has made a smart recovery from the 52-week low of Rs 697 that it hit on October 10, 2018. The period high for the share was Rs 1,520 that it touched on April 26, 2018.
Aviation industry observers are expecting more turbulence ahead as the number of cancellations rise as the situation regarding B737 MAX aircraft is not likely to be resolved anytime soon.