India’s airlines are really hurting during this Coronavirus pandemic

SpiceJet’s chairman Ajay Singh is spending a lot of time in Delhi in front of civil aviation secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola.

The coronavirus has rattled India’s airlines, a big change from their New Year optimism. Many of them do not have deep pockets so are vulnerable.

In January, the industry was happy with fare discipline, controlled capacity addition, the absence of rival Jet Airways, and a slow but gradual demand recovery.

On Wednesday, IndiGo told the stock market that its earnings would be materially impacted because of the disruption, and domestic bookings had fallen 15%-20%.

The airlines’ anxiety comes from their weak balance sheets.

Those in the know say Singh is lobbying with the government to bring jet fuel under GST – such a reform could bring a windfall in reduced taxation of jet fuel.

Perhaps also on the cards is flexibility in payments to oil companies.

IndiGo has a fleet of 255 planes and money in the bank. The Tata Group backs Vistara and AirAsia India, while the Wadia Group owns Britannia and Bombay Dyeing, runs GoAir.

Government help or not, Indian airline execs are preparing for the worst – and some without money in the bank or big owners. Changes ahead?

Author: Stephen Manallack

Former President, Australia India Business Council, Victoria and Author, You Can Communicate; Riding the Elephant; Soft Skills for a Flat World (published by Tata McGraw-Hill INDIA); Communicating Your Personal Brand. Director, EastWest Academy Pty Ltd and Trainer/Speaker/Mentor in Leadership, Communication and Cross Cultural Communication. Passionate campaigner for closer western relations with India. Stephen Manallack is a specialist on “Doing Business with India” and advisor/trainer on “Cross-Cultural Understanding”. He is a Director of EastWest Academy Pty Ltd which provides strategic advice and counsel regarding business relations with India. A regular speaker in India on leadership and global communication, his most recent speaking tour included a speech to students of the elite Indian university, Amity University, in Noida. He also spoke at a major Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) global summit, the PR Consultants Association of India in Delhi, the Symbiosis University in Pune and Cross-Cultural Training for Sundaram Business Services in Chennai. He has visited India on business missions on 10 occasions and led three major trade missions there. He provides cross-cultural training – Asia and the west.

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