Can you believe India’s Kingfisher airlines is still flying. The group has now slipped from the largest to sixth airline in India in terms of passengers. Last week, the Indian government announced the carrier owes $US 49m (£31m) in taxes. In addition, the carrier owes money to airports, lenders and its own staff. The airline shut down most international short-haul operations in February and and all international services ceased on 10 April. In March, its mooted membership of One World never happened and IATA (the International Air Transport Association) suspended Kingfisher’s usage of the inter-airline funds transfer system. Cancellations, delays and disruptions have been so bad that India’s Civil Aviation Directorate summoned Kingfisher CEO Sanjay Agarwal to account for them.
But Kingfisher continues to fly and amazingly people keep booking seats on them! I would be too nervous to rely on them. Will they fly? Will they be delayed? Will they be safe?
One wonders what the outcome will be for this carrier that has not made a profit since its founding in 2005. Will the airline, one of Skytrax only five star airlines find a source of cash and move into a period of stability or will passengers and staff arrive one day to find the check in desks shuttered and barred? Or will another carrier swoop in and absorb Kingfisher? Etihad? Qatar?