|Commenced operations||9 May 2005|
|Frequent-flyer program||King Club|
|Airport lounge||Kingfisher Lounge|
|Company slogan||Fly The Good Times|
|Parent company||United Breweries Group|
|Headquarters||The Qube, Mumbai, Maharashtra|
|Revenue||58.15 billion (US$1.0 billion) (2012)|
|Net income||-23.28 billion (US$−400 million) (2012)|
Kingfisher Airlines Limited was an airline group based in India. Its head office is in Andheri (East), Mumbai and Registered Office in UB City, Bangalore. Kingfisher Airlines, through its parent company United Breweries Group, has a 50% stake in low-cost carrier Kingfisher Red. The airline had been facing financial issues for many years. Until December 2011, Kingfisher Airlines had the second largest share in India's domestic air travel market. However due to a severe financial crisis faced by the airline at the beginning of 2012, it has the lowest market share since April 2012.
The airline had shut down its operations when on 20 October 2012 the DGCA suspended its flying license. This suspension had been due to failure to give an effective response to the show-cause notice issued by DGCA. However, The airline had locked out its employees for several days before this suspension. On 25 October 2012, the employees agreed to return to work. In February 2013 the Indian government announced the withdrawal of both domestic and international flight entitlements allocated to the airline.
Kingfisher Airlines was established in 2003. It is owned by the Bengaluru based United Breweries Group. The airline started commercial operations in 9 May 2005 with a fleet of four new Airbus A320-200s operating a flight from Mumbai to Delhi. It started its international operations on 3 September 2008 by connecting Bengaluru with London. Kingfisher's head office is located in The Qube in Andheri (East), Mumbai and its registered office is located in UB City, Bangalore. Its head office was previously in the Kingfisher House in Vile Parle (East), Mumbai. In 2012 Vijay Mallya was trying to sell the Vile Parle Kingfisher House. With the freezing of the bank accounts of the airline by the Indian Income Tax Department, the airline entered a period of financial unrest. Following are the year by year financial results of Kingfisher Airlines, all values are depicted in Indian rupee (INR) crore except EPS, which is in plain INR.
In September 2011, the chairman and managing director of Kingfisher Airlines made following disclosure to the Bombay Stock Exchange(BSE); "The Company has incurred substantial losses and its net worth has been eroded. However, having regard to improvement in the economic sentiment, rationalization measures adopted by the Company, fleet recovery and the implementation of the debt recast package with the lenders and promoters including conversion of debt into share capital, these interim financial statements have been prepared on the basis that the Company is a going concern and that no adjustments are required to the carrying value of assets and liabilities" This filing was widely covered by Indian and international print and electronic media and analysts. It was stated by analysts and media that the company needed capital infusion to remain viable and this has pushed shares to near historic lows. Kingfisher Airlines Lenders later stated that they consider that company is viable. On 15 November 2011 the airline released poor financial results, indicating that it was "drowning in high-interest debt and losing money". Mallya indicated that his solution was for the government to reduce fuel and other taxes. The government was engaged in assessing whether to bail out the company and other airlines or let market forces determine which ones survive.
Ever since the airline commenced operations in 2005, it has been reporting losses. After acquiring Air Deccan, Kingfisher suffered a loss of over 10 billion (US$170 million) for three consecutive years. By early 2012, the airline accumulated losses of over 70 billion (US$1.2 billion) with half of its fleet grounded and several members of its staff going on strike. Kingfisher's position in top Indian airlines on the basis of market share had slipped to last from 2 because of the crisis. In December 2011, for the second time in two months, Kingfisher's bank accounts were frozen by the Mumbai Income Tax department for non-payment of dues. Kingfisher Airlines owes 70 crore (US$12 million) to the service tax department. Indian tax body also stated that Kingfisher Airlines is delinquent On 20 October 2012, Kingfisher's licence was suspended by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation after it failed to address the Indian regulator's concerns about its operations. On 25 Feb 2013, its international flying rights and domestic slots were scrapped by the Indian aviation authorities.
As of 10 April 2012, Kingfisher Airlines served 25 domestic destinations within India. It had suspended all international operations from 10 April 2012 with the final flight between London Heathrow and Delhi. When the airline is flying, all routes are now operated with the Airbus A320 family, ATR 42s and ATR 72 aircraft. Its first long haul destination was London, United Kingdom which was launched in September 2008. It had plans to launch new long haul flights to cities in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania with deliveries of new aircraft. All long haul routes used to be operated on the Airbus A330-200.
Prior to the suspension from IATA, Kingfisher had codeshare agreements with:
Due to the financial problems of Kingfisher Airlines, the fleet was drastically reduced from 63 to 16. A majority of the fleet was repossessed by lessors in March 2012. Although Airbus has not cancelled/suspended the orders yet, it is unlikely that Kingfisher Airlines will start taking the deliveries in near future.6 Airbus A320 and One ATR72 have been confiscated by lessors on 11 December 2012. The Kingfisher Airlines fleet consists of the following aircraft (as of October 2012):
|Aircraft||In Fleet||Total Passengers||Notes|
|Boeing 727-044||1||VIP||VIP for UB Group|
- Kingfisher First
The domestic Kingfisher First seats have a 48 inch seat pitch and a 126 degree seat recline. There are laptop and mobile phone chargers on every seat. Passengers can avail of the latest international newspapers and magazines. There is also a steam ironing service on board Kingfisher First cabins. Every seat is equipped with a personalised IFE system with AVOD which offers a wide range of Hollywood and Bollywood movies, English and Hindi TV programmes, 16 live TV channels and 10 channels of Kingfisher Radio. Passengers also get BOSE noise cancellation headphones. Domestic Kingfisher First is only available on selected Airbus A320 family aircraft.
- Kingfisher Class
The domestic Kingfisher Class has 32-34 inch seat pitch. Every seat is equipped with personal IFE systems with AVOD on board the Airbus A320 family aircraft. As in Kingfisher First, passengers can access movies, English and Hindi TV programmes, a few live TV channels powered by DishTV, and Kingfisher Radio. The screen is controlled by a controller-console on the seat armrest. Earcup headphones are provided free of cost to all passengers. The default channel shows, alternating every few seconds, the aeroplane's ground speed, outside temperature, altitude, distance and time to destination, the position of the aircraft on a graphical map, and one or more advertisements. Passengers are served meals on most flights. Before take-off, passengers are served bottled lemonade.
- Kingfisher Red
Kingfisher Airlines acquired Bangalore based low cost carrier Air Deccan in 2007, changed its name to Simplifly Deccan and subsequently converted it to Kingfisher Red, Kingfisher Airline's low-cost class on domestic routes. A special edition of Cine Blitz magazine was the only reading material provided. Passengers could earn King Miles even when they flew Kingfisher Red, which they could redeem for free tickets to travel on Kingfisher Airlines or partner airlines. On 28 September 2011, Vijay Mallya announced that the company would soon stop operations of Kingfisher Red as it did not believe in low-cost operations any longer.
- Kingfisher First
Prior to losing its A330 fleet, Kingfisher offered an international business/first product called Kingfisher First which featured full flat-bed seats with a 180 degree recline, with a seat pitch of 78 inches, and a seat width of 20-24.54 inches. Passengers were given Merino wool blankets, a Salvatore Ferragamo toiletry kit, a pyjama to change into, five-course meals and alcoholic beverages. Also available were in-seat massagers, chargers and USB connectors. Every Kingfisher First seat had a 17 inch widescreen personal television with AVOD touchscreen controls and offers 357 hours of programming content spread over 36 channels, including Hollywood and Bollywood movies along with 16 channels of live TV, so passengers can watch their favorite TV programmes live. There was also a collection of interactive games, a jukebox with customisable playlists and Kingfisher Radio. Passengers are given BOSE noise cancellation headphones. The service on board the Kingfisher First cabins included a social area comprising a full-fledged bar staffed with a bartender, a break-out seating area just nearby fitted with two couches and bar stools, a full-fledged chef on board the aircraft and any-time dining. A turn-down service included the conversion of the seat into a fully flat bed and an air-hostess making the bed when the passenger is ready to sleep. Both Kingfisher First and Kingfisher classes featured mood lighting on the Airbus A330-200 with light schemes corresponding to the time of day and flight position.
- Kingfisher Class
The international Kingfisher Class (no longer available since Kingfisher lost its A330 long-haul fleet) seats offered a seat pitch of 34 inches, a seat width of 18 inches and a seat recline of 25 degrees (6 inches). Passengers received full length modacrylic blankets, full size pillows and meals. Each Kingfisher Class seat had a 10.6 inch widescreen personal television with AVOD touchscreen controls. The IFE was similar to that of the international Kingfisher First class. It could also be controlled by a detachable remote-control console fitted in the armrest. This device could be used to control the IFE, reading-lights, play games and even has a credit-card swipe for shopping on Kingfisher's 'Air Boutique'. It also had a facility for sending text-messages, though the service wasn't provided by Kingfisher.
Kingfisher's IFE system is the Thales TopSeries i3000/i4000 on board the Airbus A320 family aircraft, and Thales TopSeries i5000 on board the Airbus A330 family aircraft provided by the France-based Thales Group. Kingfisher was the first Indian airline to have in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems on every seat even on domestic flights. All passengers were given a "welcome kit" consisting of goodies such as a pen, facial tissue and headphones to use with the IFE system. Now, passengers of Kingfisher class are not given "welcome kits" but, as mentioned earlier, a complimentary bottle of lemonade and earphones for use with the IFE are still given. The inflight magazines are special editions of magazines owned by Mallya's media publishing house (VJM Media) viz. Hi! Blitz for domestic flights and Hi! Living for international flights. Initially, passengers were able to watch only recorded TV programming on the IFE system, but later an alliance was formed with Dish TV to provide live TV in-flight. And in a marked departure from tradition, Kingfisher Airlines decided to have an on-screen safety demonstration using the IFE system, however the conventional safety briefing by the flight attendants still exists on many flights.
The frequent-flyer program of Kingfisher Airlines is called the King Club in which members earn King Miles every time they fly with Kingfisher or its partner airlines, hotels, car rental, finance and lifestyle businesses. There are four levels in the scheme: Red, Silver, Gold and Platinum levels. Members can redeem points for over a number of schemes. Platinum, Gold and Silver members enjoy access to the Kingfisher Lounge, priority check-in, excess baggage allowance, bonus miles, and 3 Kingfisher First upgrade vouchers for Gold membership. Platinum members get 5 upgrade vouchers.
Kingfisher Xpress was a Door-to-Door cargo delivery service from Kingfisher Airlines. Kingfisher Xpress same day service will be India's first and only same day delivery by air service. The service offered a pick up facility in the 8 main metropolitan cities of India namely Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Cochin and Kolkata with guaranteed same day delivery in up to 22 cities of India namely Ahmedabad, Bagdogra, Bangalore, Chennai, Coimbatore, Delhi, Kochi, Goa, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Kolkata, Mumbai, Patna, Raipur, Ranchi, Lucknow, Nagpur, Pune, Srinagar and Tiruvanathapuram.
Kingfisher Lounges are offered to Kingfisher First passengers, along with King Club Silver and King Club Gold members. Lounges were located in:
- Bangalore International Airport
- Chennai International Airport
- Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (Mumbai)
- Cochin International Airport (Kochi)
- Indira Gandhi International Airport (Delhi)
- London Heathrow Airport
- Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport (Kolkata)
- Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (Hyderabad)
Awards and achievements
- Kingfisher Airlines frequent flyer programme, King Club has won Top Honours at the 21st Annual Freddie Awards in the Japan, Pacific, Asia and Australia region.
- King Club has won the Freddie Awards 2008 in the following categories:
- Best Bonus Promotion
- Best Customer Service
- Best Member Communications (First Runner-up)
- Best Award Redemption (First Runner-up)
- Best Elite Level (Second Runner-up)
- Best Website (Second Runner-up)
- Program of the Year (Second Runner-up)
- King Club has won the Freddie Awards 2008 in the following categories:
- Kingfisher Airlines has received three global awards at the Skytrax World Airline Awards 2010
- Named Best Airline In India / Central Asia; Best Cabin Crew – Central Asia.
- Kingfisher RED named Best Low Cost Airline in India / Central Asia.
- NDTV Profit Business Leadership Award for Aviation.
- Rated India's Second Buzziest Brand 2008 by The Brand Reporter.
- Ranked amongst India's Top Service Brands of 2008 by Pitch Magazine.
- Voted as India's Favourite Airline.
- Rated as Asia Pacific's Top Airline Brand.
- Brand Leadership Award.
- Economic Times Avaya Award 2006 for Excellence in Customer Responsiveness.
- India's No. 1 Airline in customer satisfaction by Business World.
- Rated amongst India's most respected companies by Business World.
- Rated amongst India's 25 Innovative Companies by Planman Media in 2006.
- The Best Airline" and "India's Favourite Carrier' in a Survey conducted by IMB for The Times Of India.
- Best New Domestic Airline for Excellent Services and Cuisine by Pacific Area Travel Writers Association (PATWA).
- Service Excellence 2005-2006 for a New Airline by Skytrax.
- Ranked Third in the survey on India's Most Successful Brand launch of 2005 under the Brand Derby Survey conducted by Business Standard.
- Buzziest Brands of 2005 by agencyfaqs and The Brand Reporter.
- Rated amongst the Top Ten Internet Advertisers by Yahoo.
- Rated amongst the top ten in the Best Television Commercial Jingles by NDTV.
- Best New Airline of the Year Award for 2005 by Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) Award in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East region.
- Listed in the top 100 most trusted brand in The Brand Trust Report.
According to Kingfisher
Accidents and incidents
- On 10 November 2009, Flight 4124 operated by ATR 72-212A VT-KAC, skidded off the runway after landing at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. The aircraft suffered substantial damage, but all 46 passengers and crew escaped unharmed. In November 2010, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation released its final report into the accident. It revealed that the cause of the accident was pilot error, with the aircraft landing at too high a speed and too far down Runway 27A, which was the designation given to Runway 27 whilst it was being operated at a reduced length due to the closure of Runway 14/32 for maintenance.
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