Friday, November 11, 2011

EXCLUSIVE! Oneworld stands with ailing partner-to-be, Kingfisher

Neelam Mathews
Nov 11, 2011

Even as Kingfisher Airlines stands on the brink of what seems at this juncture, a point of no return, a plucky oneworld says the carrier is on track to join the alliance in early 2012.

For the sake of Kingfisher, Indian aviation, service- starved passengers, rising fares and safety of aircraft in the air, one hopes the optimistic oneworld spokesman is right.

“We look forward to adding India’s highest quality carrier to the world’s premier alliance – as the first airline from the sub-continent to join any of the global airline groups,” said the spokesman to Aerospace Diary.

I’d be a bit wary with the adjectives, but it’s a free world- certainly a free country where everybody has a right to their opinion.

But, when I’m told in jest “the airline industry is subject to extensive rumor and speculation – particularly in India!,” I’m inclined to agree to disagree- in this case at least.

“Kingfisher Airlines has assured us that the temporary adjustments to its schedule have been planned to enable it to reconfigure its fleet with its revised cabin layouts, as announced a month or so ago,” we are told by oneworld. 

In a press statement released this evening by Sanjay Aggarwal, CEO:  "The reconfiguration initiative will require up to 3 aircraft to be out of service over the next three months at any one time for this exercise to be completed. It will reduce the number of fleet configurations from 7 to 3, improving operational flexibility. This initiative will add more seats to the fleet, improving revenue production of each aircraft.”

It is interesting to note that Kingfisher has reduced frequencies during the peak tourism period in India.

We are also told that Kingfisher has credit terms or payment arrangements “with all its vendors which we are complying with.” 

Perhaps I might have got it wrong but the recent inability to pay for ATR spares and cannabalisation of parts may have been a reason for the grounding of 12-13 ATRs. How this affects safety of the carrier, may need another page of analysis.

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