Topic of the Week: Will Kingfisher Survive?


Kingfisher appears to be on its last legs. It has canceled all international flights and pared back domestic runs. The airline, which was supposed to be India’s entry into oneworld, is now simply fighting for life. Will it survive or is it toast?

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17 comments on “Topic of the Week: Will Kingfisher Survive?

  1. I can’t see it surviving. I would feel comfortable booking a ticket with AA, which is bankruptcy protection. I would have felt comfortable booking a ticket on Direct Air because I did not see their finances in the news everyday (I suppose I dodged a bullet?). I would not feel comfortable booking on Kingfisher as I would have no clue if they would be operating that day, or heck, even tomorrow! With so much negative news, I would prefer to spend my money with an Airline I had a resonable expectation of getting me to my destination. I just can’t say that about Kingfisher… Shame really, I have heard their service is lovely.

  2. I did put up the prediction on my blog that they’ll be gone by June…

    The fact that they are toast is a given. Now the question is when. A bailout or foreign investment might lengthen its life by a few months, but at the end of the day they’ll still be gone.

  3. @#%@#$%. I flew Kingfisher First on an award from LHR-BLR. Believe it or not, it was one of my favorite redemptions, and my wife and I were making plans to fly them again. I guess not. Of all the airlines that fail, this is one I will actually miss.

    1. From a passenger perspective, they were one of the best. Top quality product, competitive fares… From a financial perspective however, they’ve been a nightmare since they launched. It’s a vanity project of Mr. Vijay Mallya, a drunkard billionaire liquor baron. Their business model, if you think they have one, is subpar at best.

      And of course, now that they can’t pay for meals, fuel, maintenance of cabin (and perhaps the rest of the airplane as well), their product is out the window. It’s a shame, but it’s been seen as the inevitable for a long time now.

      1. It sounds a little like Virgin America… Ambitious airline, great product, good service, decent fares, and always bleeding cash.

        1. Yeah, similar in some ways. However, I’d say that Virgin America is doing far better than Kingfisher ever did – they never even made an operating profit. And that includes the mid-2000s, when even Air India and Indian Airlines were making respectable money…

        2. Sorry – I take that back. Kingfisher did actually make an operating profit in a few quarters last year (and maybe the whole fiscal year?). Either way, they were still bleeding cash the whole time…

  4. With all the trouble they have had lately, the only ones flying them must be people who paid for tickets already and can’t get their money back or people who just don’t know what has been happening with them.

    You would think an airline started by the billionaire owner of a large brewry would have done better. I admit I’m not up on how their down hill slide started, was the billionaire tossing in money for his ego and didn’t care it wasn’t making money until it was to late or what?

    1. His billions are mostly inherited from daddy. He was trying to copy Branson apparently, thinking that he will make money out of this airline. However his ego gets in the way of everything, and he doesn’t seem to understand that the average Indian doesn’t want to pay enough of a premium for more legroom, IFE, attractive, FAs, whatever, for Kingfisher to ever be profitable.

      Just another company on the list of failures that he’s launched… In fact, apart from the breweries (which his father built up), he doesn’t really have anything successful to his name.

  5. Seems like all the half decent low cost airlines in Asia seem are abandoning the long haul routes, I flew a few times with King Fisher and was always satisfied with them.

  6. They will not be around. IATA clearing house has suspended them. And people are now booking towards 9W and Indigo and SpiceJet.

    Funny because now AI, IT, and 9W all are having problems paying salaries.

    I’m hoping that Oneworld forgets India and goes for Srilankan Airlines (UL), who can serve the smallest Tier III Indian cities that even the Gulf carriers cannot touch (for now).

    1. Vijay Mallya, to his credit, brought in Sanjay Aggarwal but it was too little too late.
    2. There’s too much capacity in the market, including Indian Railways which has one of the most extensive and convenient railway systems in the world.
    3. The whole industry in India sucks due to government regulation.
    4. Kingfisher should have never ordered A350’s and A380’s.
    5. Unlike Americans, Indian people are used to 180 seats in an A320 and flying on turboprops. So no reason to put 130 seats in an A320 like Kingfisher did.

  7. Kingfisher never really bothered to get its finances in order. With the current status of the Indian market, that’s a recipe for disaster.

  8. This isn’t good for oneworld. Mexicana, Malev, now Kingfisher.

    Quick question: do the defunct airlines officially get kicked out of the alliance? For instance, Mexicana has been dead for several months. Yet, in the list of logos for oneworld partners that you see in the airline magazines and at airports, the Mexicana logo is still included, as is Malev.

  9. I was in Hong Kong 3 weeks ago and I stayed at the same hotel as the Kingfisher A330 crew.

    I was told the flight crew have been working for several months without being paid, obviously that can’t continue.

    This was in the “The Times of India”

    “NEW DELHI: Hoping to resolve the crisis facing Kingfisher Airlines early next week, Vijaya Mallya on Monday said he has organised funds to pay “seriously overdue salaries” to the employees. “

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