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IndiGo swings back to cash for some aircraft deliveries

Indian budget carrier IndiGo is once again looking at opportunities to pay cash outright for some of its future aircraft deliveries.

The airline has long relied on sale-and-leaseback financing for its fleet, but in May 2018 signalled that it would seek to place more aircraft on its balance sheet. It reversed course on that by October that year, as tougher market conditions saw it focus on maintaining cash.

However, in its latest earnings call, chief financial officer Rohit Philip noted that the carrier's "optimum cash balance" was around 15% of revenue, equating to roughly Rs45 billion ($652 million).

At 30 June, IndiGo had Rs173 billion in cash, of which around Rs76 billion was unrestricted.

"Based on that we do have some excess cash we are looking at all the options based on the aircraft deliveries that we have as to what is the optimal way to utilise them to buy some of the aircraft with cash," Philip adds.

IndiGo has largely relied on sale-and-leaseback financing for its Airbus A320 family jets and used cash to buy most of its ATR 72-600s. However, as it moved to conserve cash, it conducted sale-and-leasebacks on some ATR 72s with TrueNoord and Chorus Aviation Capital.

Cirium's Fleets Analyzer shows that IndiGo has 194 A320neos, 145 A321neos and 32 ATR 72s on order.

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