The decline of Kingfisher has been a saga that has gone on for almost two years.
The airline gave India the most luxurious flying experience with a five star rating. Since then the airline has undergone a slow death by a 1000 cuts:
- ts bank accounts were frozen by the tax authorities in late 2011
- International routes were closed in April 2012
- they lost One World membership one month before it was meant to assume it in 2012
- their operating license was suspended in October 2012
- the revocation of it’s international flying rights by the Indian authorities in February
- the loss of its domestic slots also in February
- their fleet size has been reduced from 63 to six in two years
The airline reminds me of the knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail who after being hacked to pieces in a battle demands his protagonist keep fighting him.
Two weeks ago, the Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) ordered lessors with unpaid Kingfisher debt to confiscate aircraft, most of them Airbuses in lieu of unpaid rental dues. Airports are trying to evict them. They now have over $1.4 billion in debt and has not been able to access fresh capital. Yet, every time I start writing a blog that finally pronounces them dead, then the carcass appears to still have some residual life.
Then this week, the airline’s parent firm, UB Group announced that they will inject 6.5bn rupees ($119m) to reinvigorate the carrier. This was accompanied by Kingfisher Airlines submitting a fresh business plan to Indian aviation authorities as it seeks permission to restart operations and re issue it’s license to fly. The plan includes “our schedule that we plan to operate, the aircraft we plan to operate, the number of people we have,” said Sanjay Aggarwal, the airlines CEO.
The airline has also been In discussion with Etihad and other investors with a view to them taking a stake in the carrier, after the Indian government allowed foreign investment of up to 49% in domestic carriers.
The firm’s shares closed 4.9per cent higher to 7.91 rupees. on the Bombay Stock Exchange. – its highest trading permissible limit.
I keep expecting the end of Kingfisher and they keep surprising me by dodging the final sword! How much longer will their CEO keep fighting?