* July-Sept loss down 32 pct to 1.64 bln rupees
* Accumulated losses bigger than company's net worth -
* Fuel costs, falling rupee remain concerns - CEO
(Adds detail, comment)
NEW DELHI, Nov 12 SpiceJet, India's
second-biggest budget carrier by market share, reduced its
second-quarter losses by 32 percent, benefiting from massive
cuts in capacity by rival Kingfisher Airlines.
The losses still reflect the fiercely competitive Indian
aviation industry, which lost a combined $2 billion last year.
All but unlisted IndiGo lost money, hurt by high state taxes on
jet fuel, expensive airports and regulatory uncertainty.
"Fuel costs and a weakened INR (Indian rupee) continue to be
a cause of worry for the aviation sector," SpiceJet Chief
Executive Neil Mills said in a statement.
Kingfisher has stopped flying since having its licence
suspended last month because of safety concerns. Even before
then the carrier operated only about a fifth of its aircraft,
enabling rivals to push up fares.
SpiceJet said it lost 1.64 billion rupees ($30 million) in
the three months to Sept. 30, compared with a forecast loss of
961 million rupees and after a 2.4 billion rupee loss in the
same period last year.
Accumulated losses were more than the company's net worth at
Sept. 30, its auditors said on Monday.
A SpiceJet spokeswoman was not immediately available to
Operational revenue jumped 57 percent in a quarter that is
relatively lean because Indians tend to fly more during the
festive season that begins in October. Passenger yields jumped
37 percent, reflecting a big increase in air fares.
Jet Airways, India's biggest airline, this month
beat estimates with an 86 percent reduction in its
second-quarter losses thanks to a jump in operating income.
SpiceJet is widely seen as a potential target for foreign
carriers looking to invest in India after the government relaxed
takeover rules this year.
The airline has said that it was in preliminary talks with
cash-rich Gulf carriers for a potential investment.
The company's shares closed the day 2.68 percent higher at
36.35 rupees, having gained more than 50 percent in the past 12
months. By contrast, shares of AirAsia, Asia's largest
budget carrier, have lost 23.4 percent in the same period.
(Reporting by Anurag Kotoky; Editing by Muralikumar
Anantharaman and David Goodman)