The death knell for India’s Kingfisher Airlines sounded as lender banks took possession of the airline’s 25,850-sq-ft headquarters property in Mumbai on August 10. Carrying some $1 billion in outstanding debt, liquor tsar Vijay Mallya and his United Breweries Group have seen wholly owned Kingfisher accumulate $2.6 billion in losses since its launch in 2005. Most recently, it registered a loss of $188 million for the quarter running from April to June.
United Breweries Group
Concerns over the safety oversight of financially struggling Kingfisher Airlines continue, even as the fleet–once 64 aircraft strong–has now shrunk to six A320s and five ATR 72s. The fleet reduction, driven largely by non-payment of leases, comes as a portion of the company’s pilots took strike action on August 18 to protest more than six months of back wages owed them by Kingfisher.
“Stay tuned–it’s going to be an interesting company,” Epic Aircraft CEO Rick Schrameck told AIN today, confirming speculation that he has been in talks with Vijay Mallya, chairman of Kingfisher Airlines parent company UB Group, about Mallya acquiring a controlling stake in the start-up aircraft manufacturer.
Aviation International News traveled from Delhi to Mumbai for the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) conference on Kingfisher Airlines, because at the time it offered the best schedule and most user-friendly Web site for buying tickets in U.S. dollars using a credit card. We paid $310 (or about INR 12,500) for the round-trip ticket.