Kingfisher eyes return to full operations in 12 months

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Published: May 31, 2012

India’s Kingfisher Airlines plans to continue operations with a limited fleet while carrying on with its aircraft reconfiguration programme.

The beleaguered carrier adds that it plans to re-induct aircraft and targets a return to full-scale operations in the next 12 months.

This will be backed by a recapitalisation plan it is “actively pursing and confident of achieving”, Kingfisher said in a statement accompanying its financial results.

Operating a limited fleet, in the meantime, will also help it to “contain losses” in a tough operating environment in the Indian aviation industry, it adds.

The carrier reported a net loss of Rs23.3 billion ($ 415 million) for the financial year ended 31 March 2012. This was due to high fuel costs, the depreciation of the Indian rupee as well as a drop in revenue as it reduced capacity to contain losses.

“Rationalisation of capacity in the last two quarters of FY2012 and continued adverse publicity led to a disproportionate loss of revenue,” said Kingfisher.

The carrier has also accumulated over Rs80 billion in debt – Rs56.9 billion in long-term borrowings and Rs23.3 billion in short-term borrowings.

In March, the ailing carrier issued a “holding plan” where services to several major Indian cities including Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Kolkata were suspended.

It had earlier curtailed widebody flights and cancelled international services to stay afloat.

It also said in March that it plans to operate about 120 daily flights with 20 aircraft, down from about 1,249 flights a week, as part of this holding plan.

Kingfisher, which has never turned a profit since it started operations, has long been plagued with issues such as suspension from IATA’s accounts and billing systems, cancellation of flights and non-payment of fuel dues because of its financial woes.

In October 2011, the carrier said it will reconfigure its aircraft to reduce the number of first class seats and increase economy class seats to improve revenue production. The reconfiguration was due to have been completed within four months, but has since been overtaken by its financial problems.

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