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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Between Cupid And The Devil- Will Kingfisher Survive?


It’s all about the color RED! oops I mean KingFissured!

Red is hot and red is strong, but how on earth does one plan to cut a Rs. 6000 crore debt? We have all heard the chairman insisting that within a jiffy, his airline would be back on track? It’s taken off into one crisis after another, including with the DGCA, non payment of salaries and lots of dues besides improper erratic schedules plaguing Kingfisher. Is it all about the colour Red?

The carrier surely must not be surprised to see another exodus. It has also started defaulting salaries, I’m told by a couple for friends who work in the airline. Some say there are issues within the top management. There is barely anyone who interacts or even boosts the sagging morale of these employees. Ill timed decisions, overt flamboyance and maybe even a flawed business model, have reduced the glory in red to a wingless bird without flight soaked in the blood of its unforeseen injuries.

Now was that a Boutique airline to customers? Was the concept Yachts with wings? The precincts remained Red. Many such concepts were flying across meeting tables and accordingly being translated into action! After all maybe an ill conceived concept , that ensured that in spite of 80-90 % carriage the red airline barely made any profits.

The merger with Air Deccan also backfired, somewhere in 2008. Around Rs.550 crores were spent on Air Deccan for operations to start under the brand name Kingfisher Red! The rebranding seemed a huge flop to me. Many ill informed passengers assumed that the service would be just the one on board the boutique carriers so ably designed by Mr Mallya himself. It sure felt well when he welcomed us on board saying each one of us was his personal “guest” on board. It almost felt like our own private carrier. Was it about the word Red?

The IT department have frozen all the accounts from when I last read..oops did I say red?

Is there hope of revival? Is Rs.2000 crores from SBI down the drain? Or could that be brought back and be trained again to fly? I am also told that about 40-50%of the pilots have quit, so like the blue airways that currently Jets across the skies, would it from be trainees who land us onto the tarmac? The inimitable dad and son combo however, believe that the problems of the red air are surmountable. Importing jet fuel seems a cruel joke and FDI in carriers cannot surely be the only panacea for an ailing airline. Just recently three dozen flights all over the country were cancelled. At many airports I did see the plight of all the passengers whose entire travel plans went haywire sometimes.

The government surely would not bail the red airlines out. It is going to be one turbulent flight. The feel at home “guests” currently feel very threatened by the choppy rides. The aviation sector as a whole is reeling under lots of issues. The best option would be to cut down, revamp and work out better plans for the future. Our honorable Minister for Civil Aviation, Shri Ajit Singh says he has allowed for foreign airlines to invest up to 49%in India. Passengers would only continue to grow. Mr. Singh seems very confident of conquering the skies! 

The color Red always has always indicated Stop! Maybe a range of seemingly conflicting emotions of love, lust,rage, violence and warfare!

Would this time around sighting a Kingfisher in the skies be rare? Surely, hope not!

Red is the color of happiness and prosperity in China, and may be used to attract good luck….why not just this time,Cupid win the battle! Could Red mean start all over again? 

5 comments:

  1. mallaya once had piles of money, now he only has piles & a big king-fissure.

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  2. i think its a eyewash , as airline industry is heavily taxed and fuel prices going up , and govt not supporting the industry in terms of perks and subsidies there is no way left to KF than to adopt this approach . This will wake the govt to reform the taxes and also allow FDI in airline industry .KF will definately survive and will be successful in future , if it is incurring losses its cos of the taxes and duties which they have to pay to the govt and airport authorities .

    Not jus KF all the other carriers are suffering from the same problem , and our govt is still sleeping , inorder to wake them up , this is the best strategy.

    Mr.Mallya is kindly of good times , but he ll prove that he is a king of bad times too , he ll not let his venture go for a toss.

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  3. Ushy Mataji ::)), as usual, a well researched blog on King Fisher Airlines, one of the current issues that is a bane to the country at large and to several of its dedicated consumers in particular.

    No doubt, KF did remarkably well in the past. New and modern airplanes was a departure from the ageing and terribly maintained Indian Airlines. Very fresh and young staff that conducted business with a smile and sense of customer service satisfaction was in contradiction to the past-retirement oldie staff that Indian Airlines pandered with. Remarkable advertisement bordering on the impish theme augmented by an aggressive marketing strategy saw it amongst the leaders in Airline Industry in a very short time. People sought for a KF ticket as a first choice for both domestic and international sector. They maintained a schedule of connecting flights that best suited a Frequent Flier. International passengers adamantly flew KF because of this convenience. They flew into the pick of global destinations that was otherwise available only to leading international Airlines. In brief, KF was everything other than the *Red* it has claimed to slip into now over the last few months!

    It is highly debatable whether KF has really declined into the *Red* as is termed for a near bankrupt company in Industry circles. No doubt, heavy excesses in the fuel prices, Govt of India least supporting the private Airlines Industry by and large, heavy taxes, no subsidies, no credit facilities and umpteen other reasons are there by way of justification. However,in the case of KF, it becomes a bit hard to give in to these justifications considering the enormous business it attracted and the credit capital KF acceded from banks and other venture capitalists. KF was a positive money making machine for them too and therefore to believe that it was consistently declining in business becomes far fetched.

    Far fetched because neither did Mr. Vijay Mallaya nor his Son leave grounds to believe that. Their flamboyance, their jet setting life style, their luxurious public life, his personal yacht trips around the globe, his active participation in Formula 1 races around the globe etc. does augment this lack of belief. What more to say that though the KF has been in the *Red* for the past 5 years or so as is claimed, Mr. Mallaya as Chairman of KF has been drawing a 100Cr yearly remuneration without hindrance or remorse. What would one call that other than but absurd! His Son's remuneration has not been disclosed, hence, that remains incognito.

    To me personally, this entire drama remains nothing more than a hogwash, carefully embroided by Mallaya and Govt of India. It could either be for tax evasion, for entirely pocketing the huge yearly profits by sharing pennies with the political goons or for reconciling the account books between the several business schools he owns. I would best conclude as follows:-

    ***The prince had provided all the appliances of pleasure ...: buffoons,... improvisatori,... ballet-dancers,... musicians,... Beauty,... wine. All these and security were within. Without was the "Red Death."*** - Edgar Allan Poe

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  4. Mallaya is a Classic case of confirmed FISTULA,Who peddles Bikini Girls Calendars as collateral security to banks so that his air hostesses can wear Prim & proper uniforms . Confirmed now Bt Seriuos Fraud Investgn Office that He Has Been padding Administrative expense from 22% to 44% &siphonong out the mony--no wonder now real possibility of Cabin crew comin on board in Bikinis--guaranteed roaring bookings with everyone wanting only AISLE Seats.

    Ushy U Smarty-U sure Know how to sniff out trouble & GOTALA,Marinate it with Chettinad spices & PAN it. Cheers Keep it up Our Great Girlie Our Daily Oxygen-Without whic is it worth livin Huggggggzzzzz Paramjit Garewal

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