Kingfisher Airlines a prime case for shutdown: DGCA

VT-ADR Kingfisher Airlines A320 rotting at Delhi Airport (Photocredit: Anonymous)

I don’t intend to be soothsayer on this blog, but at the same time not a doomsayer either! I’ve been trying to be very positive about Kingfisher Airlines in my head for a very long time, and something tells me, that if they survive this ongoing phase of problems, they will come back as a stronger service-oriented institution in the new changed environment. However, for the time being, the troubles seems to be getting bigger and bigger for them, making them perhaps a case for being jilted from oneworld before they get to join, just like AI got the boot from Star Alliance.

I love those guys, seriously. They gave me 2 free domestic Kingfisher First class tickets last year, on spending Rs. 7,00,000 (US$ 14,000) on my American Express Kingfisher First credit card. They gave me an upgrade on my last trip with them on the gate. But they are in financial trouble, and they don’t seem to be able to figure out just yet how to get out of it. And here is how things really are:

  • For the past five months, KFA hasn’t made salary payments to its employees. So, that is a long stretch of time to eat up into the savings of anyone, and the airline has started to loose people all over the place from flight attendants to pilots. Apparently some people did receive some moneys in October 2011, but things relapsed again and they are unable to get funds to pay salaries.
  • Next up, under the garb of their new strategy to kill low-fare operations and become full-fare carriers, in November 2011 they pulled out some planes from operations, cancelled about 50 flights and killed a few of their second and third tier city operations. All this, while word got around that they did not really have the money to operate those flights. Public relations fiasco happened.

All along, these were financial troubles. But the big fat lady sang today (the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, a.k.a. India’s FAA), and in a recent audit conducted of the airline, they are clearly troubled with the fact that the airline has a foot-to-mouth existence. It asked the airline to give a timeline to the resumption of normal operations.A look at the picture above should tell you a little something about how far things have gone on in the airline. In their words, Kingfisher Airlines safety is a concern. They are prime for a shutdown.

The airline, still hoodwinking everyone, issued a statement later, which it put up on Facebook. Here is what they said:

We would like to clarify that DGCA did not have any significant findings or concerns …with regard to safety at Kingfisher Airlines and that we have adequate number of pilots and engineers to operate our scheduled services.

We would like to reassure our valued guests that at Kingfisher Airlines, safety is of paramount importance and that our scheduled flights will continue to operate with utmost safety in full compliance with regulatory requirements and stipulations in this regard.

I suspect what they really meant was, that the 150 page report was a piece of useless babble.

And here is a miles-collector me, wondering, will they see the face of February 10 when they will go on board oneworld? My last experience with them was not so bad after all. Or maybe, its just me they treat in a preferred manner. 😉



About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. Photo credit should be to “Sankaps,” the FT member who originally sent me the picture…

    Otherwise, I think you are right on. Sadly, KFA will be gone soon. They were interesting while they lasted..

  2. I’m flying them from LHR to BOM on on 1/27. What if they don’t fly, what options do I have, I bought the ticket from Expedia. There is a Jet flight 1 hr later, would KFA put me on that if they cancelled their flight?

    • @Divyesh, as of now, the flights to London are not affected to the best of what we know. If you are flying business, I can tell you the champagne is gone though!

  3. @Aadvantage Geek: Yah we Indians tend to save a lot. It is in our blood….

    @AJ: Sad to see the fate of VT-ADR lying unused since 2009 when it suffered a minor bruise to its wing. This aeroplane was only acquired in 2006. Looks ghostly now. Sad face of KF.

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