It is good news for Air India in the second quarter of this financial year with its market share, passenger revenue, load factor and on-time performance showing considerable improvement.
While the national carrier's passenger revenue was up 22 per cent -- at Rs 3,332 crore in July-September as against Rs 2,732 crore in the same period last year, its market share grew 1.3 points from 18.5 per cent during the same period in 2012 to 19.8 per cent, according to official data.
Its average network occupancy factor was higher by 3.8 percentage points at 72.5 per cent compared to 68.7 last year.
While its domestic occupancy factor was higher by 8.7 points, it was higher by 1.6 points on the international sector.
Air India's domestic passenger market share rose by 1.3 points from 18.5 per cent during July-September in 2012 to 19.8 per cent this year, the data showed.
The airline's on-time performance also showed an improvement by touching 83 per cent.
On route economics, airline sources said Air India's network continued to generate cash margins over direct cash costs, with the margin being estimated at Rs 104 crore in July-September this year as against Rs 51 crore last year.
This was despite higher costs on account of rising aviation turbine fuel prices, they said.
In a bid to slash costs, Air India has hedged 10,000 barrels of jet fuel for its aircraft this month.
"We have started fuel hedging and have hedged 10,000 barrels for delivery this month. We are closely following the Brent trading and plan to hedge at USD 110 a barrel," a source said.
The airline's Board had last month cleared a proposal to enter into hedging of jet fuel its airplanes lift overseas. It had decided that a maximum of 5,00,000 barrels of jet fuel, lifted abroad, would be hedged each quarter at a price of up to USD 110 per barrel.
Maintaining that Air India's jet fuel budget was close to Rs 9,000 crore for 2013-14, they said it amounted to 45 per cent of the total cost and almost 60 per cent of total revenue. The airline also pays about Rs 600 crore as sales and other taxes on ATF to state governments per year.