Sunday, November 20, 2011

EXCLUSIVE! Will the tide turn for Kingfisher Airlines? Will Roy give a helping hand?

Neelam Mathews
Nov 20, 2011

Memories are transient in the aviation business. No matter how much you want to move away, it draws you back, with past lessons forgotten.

Subrata Roy Sahara could be a case in point. Having burnt his fingers with Air Sahara, even as one writes this, Aerospace Diary has learnt Vijay Mallya is enroute to Lucknow – (today) to hold “imminent” discussions with Subrata Roy Sahara to sell a major portion of Kingfisher Airlines (KFA).

We could not confirm the details nor the exact nature of discussions.

“There seem to be no bailouts left for KFA. With talks with a major Indian investor having failed, this is the only option left for Mallya.  Besides, talks with the banks too are not moving forward……Everything has failed. Should the FDI in Indian carriers by foreign airlines be allowed-if at all- it is likely to be around just 24%. This will not give management control to the new partner…..nobody wants to burn their fingers any more in KFA……,” says a think tank consultant to Aerospace Diary.

With KFA in trouble with DGCA following the recent pull-out of flights and causing passengers inconvenience, luck seems to be running out for the carrier.

What is interesting is that Subrata Roy Sahara recently told an electronic channel he was a relieved man to have exited the aviation business on time. “When there is no study of demand and supply, and when there is a mismatch, these things are bound to happen in aviation.”

“Everybody jumps into aviation with a lot of expectations….the moment it (airlines came in) expanded, I knew it……,” he added. Perhaps this time, Roy will re-enter the business with no expectations.

Funds have been eluding Mallya for some time now. Recently, Roy invested $100million in Mallya’s motor racing team, Force India.

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