Struggling Kingfisher reduces international flights
Published: March 15, 2012
Kingfisher Airlines A320. Courtesy, IT
Kingfisher Airlines (IT), struggling for its survival, said Wednesday that it is “curtailing” international flying.
“We would like to confirm that we are curtailing our widebody overseas operations that are bleeding heavily,” IT spokesperson Prakash Mirpuri said in a statement. “To this end we have already returned one Airbus A330-200 to the lessor in the UK. Positive and immediate action is being taken on all fronts to cut costs.”
The Indian airline didn’t give further details on which flights are being cut; in recent weeks it has been operating well below half its schedule ( ATW Editors’ Blog, Feb. 28 ). The carrier operates A330s to Dubai, London Heathrow, Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok.
IT was suspended from IATA’s global clearing house system last week owing to nonpayment of fees. Also, many of its unpaid employees, including pilots, have been staying away from work.
“This situation has arisen as a consequence of our bank accounts having been frozen by the tax authorities,” Mirpuri said. “We are making all possible efforts to remedy this temporary situation … We continue to work with the tax authorities to arrive at a solution to de-freeze our accounts as early as possible.”
IT reiterated that there is interest from foreign airline investors in taking a stake in the strapped carrier if India eases its restrictions on foreign airline investment. “There is a lot of sensational speculation and assumption about us,” Mirpuri said. “We request one and all to appreciate the serious handicaps we face not only because of our frozen accounts but because of the [difficult] operating environment [for airlines in India] .”