New Delhi: Foreign investors have cut their exposure to the three listed Indian air carriers – Jet Airways, Kingfisher Airlines and SpiceJet -- amid concerns over escalating operational costs because of high crude oil prices, weakening rupee and other factors.

According to data available with the stock exchanges, the holding of the Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) declined in all the three listed aviation firms during July-September quarter of this year.

Market analysts said that the airline stocks have become less attractive in recent past due to high operational costs, following a surge in fuel prices and the rupee depreciation.

"FIIs are reducing their stake in the Indian aviation sector because of lack of clarity from the government's part, coupled with high operational cost following rise in jet fuel prices and depreciating rupee," CNI Research CMD Kishor Ostawal said.

The FII holding in Jet Airways fell from 5.77 per cent to 4.76 per cent at the end of the July-September quarter.

 During the same period, the FII shareholding in debt-laden Kingfisher Airlines declined from 3.02 per cent to 2.11 per cent.

Besides, SpiceJet saw the maximum fall in its FII holding during the same quarter, from 10.17 per cent to 6.17 per cent.

Rising costs due to spiralling crude oil prices and weakening rupee has led to all the three airline firms posting losses for the second quarter of the current fiscal.

During the July-September quarter of 2010-11, Jet Airways posted a loss of Rs 713.60 crore in the compared to a net profit of Rs 12.4 crore in the year-ago period, while Kingfisher Airlines' net loss doubled to Rs 468.66 crore.

SpiceJet also posted a net loss of Rs 240 crore in the second quarter of current fiscal as against a net profit of Rs 10 crore in the year-earlier.

Shares of all the three air carriers were trading with losses in a weak market today. Jet Airways was down nearly 3 per cent, Kingfisher by about one per cent, while SpiceJet was trading with loss of about 5 per cent in afternoon trade.

The three stocks are currently trading sharply below their 52-week high levels.

SpiceJet is trading near Rs 20 level, as against a high of Rs 92.70 on December 6, 2010, Kingfisher is near Rs 25, down from its one-year high level of Rs 78.75 scaled on November 23, 2010.

Jet Airways has come down to Rs 245 level, from as high as Rs 911 a year ago on November 24 last year.