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BUSINESS - KINGFISHER AIRLINES FIRST FLIGHT

 

Kingfisher Airlines to take wings on May 9

 

BY OUR AVIATION CORRESPONDENT

May 8, 2005: Kingfisher Airlines floated by Liquor baron Vijay Mallya spreads wings on May 9, 2005, with its first flight taking off from Mumbai to Delhi at the first light of the dawn.

The private carrier received operational permit from Civil Aviation Ministry on Wednesday, recognising it as a scheduled carrier and enabling it to launch flights from Monday next.

Kingfisher Airlines' first flight will take off at 0605 hours from Mumbai, and besides Mumbai-Delhi operations, it will launch three flights a week between Mumbai and Bangalore and three more between Delhi and Bangalore.

However, unlike many others waiting in the wings, Kingfisher Airlines is not a low-budget carrier. Vijay Mallya has said that the airline will be hailed for its quality and reliability and "unparalleled in-flight experience". Kingfisher's aircraft will have an all-economy configuration and provide prices lower than other competing airlines.

Kingfisher had taken the delivery of first of its four A-320 aircraft from Airbus Industrie on lease. The aircraft was taken on lease from Airbus' assembly line in Toulouse, France. This is the first instance ever of a private Indian carrier taking delivery of brand new aircraft to commence commercial operations.

Kingfisher Airlines has also placed firm orders for 10 Airbus A-320s, in addition to a purchase option of 20 more aircraft. The airline has also ordered three A319s, with deliveries expected to begin in September and December.

With the planned deliveries, the new private carrier plans to have a fleet of 12 aircraft by January next year.

Moreover, Viay Mallya is gung-ho about his airline and expects it to be the largest in India both in capacity and market share by 2010.

“Having invested in the best-in-class fleet of aircraft, we are committed to achieving our ambition of making Kingfisher Airlines, India's largest private airline both in capacity and market share by 2010," Mallya said.

"We expect Kingfisher Airlines to be profitable in the very first year of operation given its strategic approach to control costs, deployment of technology and outsourcing," he said.

Kingfisher has also entered into a breakthrough agreement with Indian Airlines, making it the first public-private- partnership in the sector. Under this partnership, IA would provide all ground handling services at its terminals in Mumbai and Delhi will allow Kingfisher Airlines to efficiently manage investments and overhead costs.

The partnership encompasses a host of areas like mutual assistance on account of cockpit commonality and over a period of time will expand to cover engineering and schedule coordination. It ensures that Indian Airlines makes incremental returns on its existing infrastructure.

Kingfisher Airlines fleet will feature an advanced Airborne Communications Addressing and Reporting System --ACCARS -- that will continuously monitor and keep watch over every aircraft, even while it is in flight. Kingfisher Airlines is the first private carrier in India to be equipped with ACCARS. This system, combined with centralized flight dispatch, will enable better management all round.

Kingfisher Airlines is a wholly-owned subsidiary of United Breweries Holdings Ltd, the UB Group's investments holding company. The Airline has been allocated the IATA airline code of 'IT'. The UB Group is one of India's largest conglomerates with a turnover of $2 billion and is the largest Indian manufacturer of beverage alcohol, beer and liquor.

BY OUR AVIATION CORRESPONDENT

 

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