Rumours and news have it that all is not well at Kingfisher Airlines.
The expansion of the much vaunted and recently launched international services have been curtailed or delayed. The planned launch on the Mumbai London route has been indefinitely postponed. To use the 5 Airbus A330-200 aircraft currently in the fleet, 3 of which are parked on the ground, plans are being drawn to commence Mumbai-Hong Kong and Mumbai-Singapore. No news on the Bangalore-Singapore route.
The flagship Bangalore-San Francisco flight has been delayed.
I am not sure if the management at Kingfisher realises that unlike Bangalore London, they cannot commence the “Silicon” Bangalore – San Francisco flight with 10 days notice. NRI residing in the US, make their travel plans months in advance, and need to be courted. If Kingfisher misses the November-December peak period, as it appears to be, they might as well postpone the flight for the next 12 months. I wonder what they will do with those fancy Airbus A340-500 aircraft.
Manisha Singhal of Business Standard reports that Kingfisher Airlines is planning to cut 300 jobs, barely a fortnight after it launched international operations and integrated low-cost carrier Simplify Deccan with it. On Monday, 22-September-2008, the Dr. Vijay Mallya-promoted Kingfisher Airlines plans to issue notices and lay off at least 300 employees, about 95% of whom are from the erstwhile Deccan (now Kingfisher Red).
The move closely follows a recent announcement by JetLite, the fully-owned subsidiary of Naresh Goyal-promoted Jet Airways, that it was downsizing by at least 750 employees.
Kingfisher Airlines is reported to have a payout bill of around Rs 2.5 crore for the severance package. The separation scheme covers 200 employees in the airline’s security department, another 50 from flight operations and around another 50 from engineering and maintenance, according to company sources.
Kingfisher Airlines, after taking a hit on account of rising crude prices, has cut flights by at least 22 per cent from its domestic and international network.
The airline has also confirmed deferring deliveries of at least 29 narrow-bodied aircraft and selling some of its wide-bodied A340 aircraft fleet. It is also restructuring its international operations.
The airline’s losses were pegged at Rs 4,000 crore for the last fiscal — before crude had soared to the levels of the past six months.