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Indian firms to fight it out in the US skies

Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines take their battle to the US.


April 26, 2007: The skies above the Americas is bound to see Indian competition, that too on a mega scale. With rivals Jet Air and Kingfisher gathering all ammunition to fight it out in the US skies, lucrative US route that has been growing at a rate of 10 per cent, is to see more action in the days ahead.

According to a report, Jet is in parleys with Boeing to advance aircraft deliveries to start the US service. In the meantime, Kingfisher Airlines, awaiting the all important nod to fly abroad, has begun a branding exercise for its US flight launch. Jet would be starting services to New York via Brussels this July. It is also planning to start daily services to San Francisco via Shanghai this winter season, said a report. The airline would deploying B777 aircraft along the India-US route and the service is expected to boast of a three class configuration, with an exclusive suite, the report added.

While the government had given Jet Airways the permission to fly to the US, Kingfisher is in the process of getting the approval. It has begun branding exercises along with measures to secure right to fly abroad. An airline should complete five years of operation to get a licence to fly abroad, the report pointed out. The application to start US services is pending , but the airline is ready with an alternate plan to start services from the US to India, using its US subsidiary, Kingfisher International. Kingfisher has plans to start non-stop Mumbai-New York and Bangalore-San Francisco flights.

Meanwhile, not to be left behind in race, state-run Air-India has also lined up daily non-stop service to New York and Chicago by mid-June. This service, which would debut even before Jetís US foray, would happen as soon as the airline takes delivery of three Boeing 777-200 ER aircraft during first week of June. Air-India currently flies as many as 24 flights a week to the US. This will go up to 35.

It has been recorded that as many as 1.5 million passengers travel on the India-US route, making the route a lucrative proposition.

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