Kingfisher’s flying permit may be cancelled: sources

The sources said Kingfisher may be planning a quiet shut down and promoter Vijay Mallya being an ‘accountable’ person has been asked to meet the DGCA to present a clear picture. The whole picture is likely to become clear in few days, the officials added

New Delhi: Ailing Kingfisher Airlines Monday faced the prospects of its flying license being cancelled and its boss Vijay Mallya has been asked by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to present a clear picture of the cash-strapped private carrier, reports PTI.

The DGCA mulled cancellation of Kingfisher's flying permit after the airline today submitted to it the summer flight schedule with 15 to 16 aircraft as against 28 planes submitted last month.

“The airline not only lacks aircraft, they also lack funds for day-to-day operations. They are failing to meet their flight schedule, causing inconvenience to the passengers and also they failed to give salaries to their employees for past four-five months,” official sources said.

The sources said Kingfisher may be planning a quiet shut down and Mr Mallya being an ‘accountable’ person has been asked to meet the DGCA to present a clear picture.

The whole picture is likely to become clear in few days, the officials said.

The beleaguered airline was served a show-cause notice by the civil aviation regulator DGCA towards the end of February asking why its licence should not be suspended as it had made unannounced cancellations.

The 15-day mandatory notice period has already lapsed and they have failed to give a valid reason for curtailment of their flight schedule, most of their explanations are unsatisfactory and they have not given a definite recovery plan, officials said requesting anonymity said, adding the airline is presently operating only 15 or 16 aircraft.

Facing severe fund crunch, the Vijay Mallya-promoted airline has decided to curtail its overseas flights operations to avoid further losses and also return of a leased aircraft.

According to sources, the airline has planned to suspend its overseas operations from 25th March, except Delhi-London which it is withdrawing from 9th April. Also, the airline would return its wide-bodied airbus A 330-200 aircraft to a lessor in the United Kingdom.

Struggling to stay afloat, around 60 accounts of Kingfisher Airlines have been frozen by the tax authorities for its failure to pay taxes after levying it from the passengers.

Angry over not being paid for four months, airline pilots reported sick, forcing the airline to curtail its scheduled flights.

Mr Mallya at a meeting with the pilots last Friday said their grievances would be looked into but did not set a time frame. He had also said the airline would come out with a crystal clear roadmap for its future in a few days.

Kingfisher has a total debt of about Rs7,057 crore and accumulated losses of about Rs6,000 crore.

Earlier this month, global airlines body IATA suspended Kingfisher for not clearing its dues. This was the second time in just over a month that the airline was suspended on the same count from the IATA Clearing House (ICH) through which airlines and related firms settle accounts for services provided by them to other such companies.

Shares of Kingfisher Airlines today plunged by about 13% to a 52-week low of Rs17.50 on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) as the company faced prospects of its flying licence being cancelled. It was seen trading at Rs18.55, down 7.71% in noon trade. On the BSE, the stock declined 7.96% to Rs18.50.


Mukul Roy sworn in as news railway minister

Mukul Roy, who parried questions on what he plans to do about the hike said, “Whatever I have to say I will say in Parliament as the Railway Budget is the property of Parliament”

New Delhi: Trinamool Congress leader Mukul Roy was Tuesday elevated to cabinet rank to take over as India’s railway minister replacing Dinesh Trivedi, who was forced to resign after Congress succumbed to Mamata Banerjee’s pressure, reports PTI.

Widely expected to roll back at least the lower class passenger fare hike proposed by Mr Trivedi in the Railway Budget, Mr Roy, 57, was sworn in as cabinet minister at a special but brief ceremony by president Pratibha Patil at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

He was currently serving as Union minister of state for shipping and had earlier served as minister of state in the railway ministry before Mr Trivedi took over last July.

The ceremony was attended by vice-president Hamid Ansari, prime minister Manmohan Singh, the UPA chairperson and cabinet ministers including ministers of Trinamool Congress.

Mr Trivedi was forced out by Trinamool Congress after he incurred the wrath of party chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee who was opposed to his proposal to increase fares in the Railway Budget last Wednesday. Mr Trivedi resigned on Sunday.

The Congress leadership caved in to the Trinamool demand for replacing him with Mr Roy.

On Monday, Ms Banerjee had indicated that the hike in the lower class fares proposed in the Railway budget may be rolled back.

Meanwhile, Mukul Roy today parried questions on what he plans to do about the hike.

“Whatever I have to say I will say in Parliament as the Railway Budget is the property of Parliament,” Mr Roy said.

He was asked if there will be any roll back in the hike in passenger fares.

“Since I am the railway minister, I will reply to the debate,” he said

“Safety, security and punctuality will be my priority as the railway minister,” he said shortly after being sworn in as a minister.


Economy & Nation Exclusive
Air India will disappoint with the 787s

Clearly, spanking new planes are not just the only thing Air India needs, but a professional and experienced airline management team is needed, as well. It needs a strategy rather than random decision making, otherwise, Air India will keep fishing for one-off travellers due to its low fares, but will not be an airline of choice

As a keen follower of aviation events, I landed up in Hyderabad last week for a day trip, with the main intention being to explore the much talked about Boeing 787 planes that Air India (AI) is lucky enough to get an early delivery on. India Aviation 2012 was on, and the Boeing Company brought the plane, which is almost ready for delivery to Air India, painted in the AI colours to showcase to the Indian audience and media. This new airframe which was developed from scratch to provide lighter weight of the plane and save about 15% fuel, Boeing has about 800 planes already on order, and AI will be one of the first few customers to receive these planes in the world, after All Nippon Airways of Japan received theirs in the last few months of 2011.

And still, I am disappointed that Air India will botch it up almost from the word go. I waited for a couple of hours to get my turn on the plane, as the bureaucrats and friends of Air India walked by me into the plane to be demonstrated on the breakthroughs in passenger aviation. I walked around the plane and from the outside, it looked royal. But as soon as I walked in, my heart sank because Air India did manage to disappoint, yet again.

Let’s go back a couple of steps before so that I can make my case. The airline product is basically not just the functional service of “how fast and conveniently you can get there”, but also the experience of getting there. Different airlines go about doing different things to make their passengers feel welcome and comfortable, and the longer you have to be in a metallic tube that flies without the option of change of scenery; the more the flying experience starts to count. Swiss Airlines gives away chocolates to say thank you and Lufthansa boasts of a special terminal for their First Class customers if you are flying at their Frankfurt terminal. Bottomline is that airlines invest a lot of money in developing a product that they hope will bring repeat customers, sometimes for the food, sometimes for the quality of the seat and sometimes for the in-flight entertainment system.

With AI, they had a golden chance to break through their staid image riding on these new planes. Air India’s perception amongst the frequent flyer community is that of an irregular airline which does not treat its passengers well. It gets you there, yes, but that’s about it. With comparable or cheaper prices to travel outside the country and offering a better quality of service, carriers outside the country have been able to gain their marketshare from AI. After all, if you got a better service and could take out the Air India stigma, why wouldn’t you go with the other carrier? 

But what Air India did was totally different. I hazard a guess on what happened. In typical bureaucratic fashion, Air India called tenders for installing seats and inflight entertainment products, and went with whatever perhaps was the cheapest; with no regard to design or aesthetics. Another airline, Germany’s Lufthansa, on the other hand, spent 3 billion euros to develop new seats for their business class passengers which they showcased in March 2012, as well. In the process of matching up the colour scheme with the Air India colours, some babu ordered rust-orange and red upholstery for all the seats, and designed a 238-seat large economy cabin on the 787 that looks like it was already used for 10 years before even flying one commercial flight.

People who will pay more money, up to five times more, to travel business class will be disappointed a bit, too. The airline has installed nice comfortable seats in those same orange and red colours upfront. Here, they’ve overlooked other finer ergonomic design aspects. Again, my argument is that these premium travellers would be disappointed and would not come back, or perhaps would choose to fly another airline which will offer them a similar price but a better experience. So, by not investing in making flying a memorable experience, Air India won’t be able to get out of this loss-making black hole because they are giving no reason to the flyers to do so.

The other aspect that will let AI down the loss making path is poor network planning and revenue management. Unconfirmed reports state that Air India will perhaps fly its first international flights on these planes on the Delhi–Melbourne route. This is a route they have been trying to launch for the longest time, but have been unsuccessful. Their direct competition on this sector would be Qantas, which after operating Mumbai–Sydney direct flights till 2010, withdrew from the market since it was losing about $20 million per annum on that route. 

Clearly, spanking new planes are not just the only thing Air India needs, but a professional and experienced airline management team is needed, as well. This airline needs a strategy rather than random decision making, and some experts who can make sure the full potential of the tools at their hand are made useful. Otherwise, Air India will keep fishing for one-off travellers due to their low fares, but will not be an airline of choice for the Indian affluent. Till then, my taxes will continue to finance the adventures of Air India. 

AJ writes a travel and aviation focussed blog from India at You can follow him at @livefromalounge on Twitter.




5 years ago

Is this real life?
Too much real life


5 years ago







makarand patankar

5 years ago

air india has been looted by one and all,ministers,beurocrats,managers,unions,cockpit and cabin crew and also the sweepers on the ground.for many years i have seen cabin crew and ground staff stuffing their bags even with toilet rolls on landing .
i fly air india bom-ewr every three months and find it convenient ,aircraft 777-200 is good better than continental which also operates777-200,inflight service and food is much better than continental. lufthansa operates old 747-400 and with one stop.their inflight service is also so-so.
indian mentality is to whip ourselves,and dont acknowledge that crooks are with in us.

Shadi Katyal

5 years ago

It is well researched article and looking at the colour of the seats one wonder if anyone has ever thought that how such colours are not beneficial for passenger on long flights.
Let us leave that all aisde.; Air India can not ever become profitable even if they bring the latest fleets and employ some designer because the basic problem lies in service and staff attitude. Those Union employees are PSU/Govt employees and even if the flight goes empty, they get paid. One wonders if anyone in the Civil Aviation Ministry knows the meaning of productivity and customer service.
Once your flight ends you are on your own even though your connection flight has left because Air India failed to arrive on time.No one from the staff will even talk to you, forget any help.
Has GOI even thought that why Indian Business men fly foreign carriers. Have they ever noticed that how come 80% of foreign travel is on other flags.
Take Singapore Airline,owned just like Air India by Govt but run by private company and charges premiums on its tickets and it is fully booked..
One wonders how Mr. JRD TATA must feel seeing this Maharaja in rags.
New planes or not unless some courses of courtesy and attitude of service are given to employees, AI will never make any profit as one flight turns you off for ever.
It is time that being a service industry we must learn what service is. Rudeness is the first thing one come across from AI office when you book your passage to in flight and no help- at the end.
We must get rid of this white elephant and look around how many Govt airlines are now.It is indeed a pity that like everything else we have made this the Best airline to the bottom of the line.
The rudeness indiscipline and arrogance must be first handled.


5 years ago

who says AI has comparable fares? take for example, Delhi -Pune flight, INDIGO charges about 3700/-, AI webfare (cheapest one is about 6000/- plus leve aside the economy full fare which is about 21000/-) thats one way . On top of this, It is mandatory tfor government officials to fly AI on Temporary Duty, LTC etc.

Raj B

5 years ago

It is a bit unfair to say that Air India's 787 business class product disappoints on "finer ergonomic design aspects."

This product compares very well with the well-praised 777 business class offering on Qatar Airways, which is currently Skytrax's best airline in the world.

Also, the allegedly "cheapest" seats used in Air India's 787 business class are actually Contour Aerospace's highly-rated and popular Aura Classic seats. As you yourself discovered, these non-pod, fully-flat, spacious seats are "nice" and "comfortable" in multiple positions.

And, the supposedly "cheapest" inflight entertainment product used on Air India's 787 business class is, in reality, the cutting-edge Top Series PTV engineered by Thales.

As a blogger for Money Life, it would only be right of you to temper your criticism with these fact-based corrections.



In Reply to Raj B 5 years ago

@Raj, I am not debating the seat, I am debating the design of the shell. The screens are too far off, there are no work desk provisions and the colors are atrocious. Those are some of the things I did not like. Besides, my point seems to be have missed here. I am saying AI will not become the frequent flyers' choice till it thinks out of the box rather than its babu mentality. That new plane looks 20 year old from the inside!


In Reply to AJ 5 years ago

AJ, thank you for responding. I too would like to make some clarifications.

1. Skytrax's seat reviews consider not only the actual seat, but also the context of the seat (i.e., the shell, the IFE, the layout, the work features, the storage spaces, etc.). Qatar Airways' shell-seat design received no negative feedback about its screens, which are similar in size to Air India's 787 business class Thales TopSeries screens, and also at least as far away from the sitting passenger. Leading airlines with closer IFE screens in business class---including Singapore Airlines' extra-wide A380 seats, the Vantage seats on Swiss International's newer A330, and many herringbone-style layouts spun off over the years from Virgin Atlantic---have been criticized by passengers because, in spite of their initial media splash, such designs trade away space (i.e., one is forced to lie down sideways in a bent position because the area is extra wide but extra short; one is forced to always recline on one's back because the tiny alcove for one's feet will not allow one to lie down sideways; or, one is forced to face away from the window and away from one's mate and into an area sometimes too narrow for one's shoulder width) and they come with other inconveniences (i.e., turnover to bed).

2. For working passengers, Air India's 787 business class seat provides all the necessary connectivity, storage space, and desk area---the fold-out meal table can multitask---but without making one feel like one is still trapped in one's office cubicle.

3. The colors are standard Air India red and gold, with a patriotic burst of Indian-flag / Hindu-holywear orange, detailed with various intricate patterns---meant to be earthy and warm, like the Air India 777's. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And some have been saying for a while that the 70's are in.

4. Clearly, Air India is not after the highest-end premium passengers, since there is no first class offering on their 787, nor is there a first-class-ish 1-2-1 business class such as the 787 cabin revealed by Qatar Airways. But this is a wise commerical decision on Air India's part, based on its dismal experience in marketing its impressive 777 first class product, and based on aviation sector trends in light of the current economic cycle. Even without the five-star-or-higher segment, Air India's nonstop flights between India and North America have become a success in their own right, winning the loyalty of many frequent fliers. And Air India's 777 intra-Asian services have been noteworthy enough to merit a World Travel Award as Asia's leading economy class. Air India's 787 will certainly further these accomplishments.

Dirk Meiser

5 years ago

Nicely written article, but AI will not be the 2nd customer of the 787. JAL will become second.
And you are 100% spot on about that AI interior. This might attract "indian taste" but for westerners, especially the high yield J class travelers this looks like the 70s are back or that plane has been loaned from Austin Powers. I have no idea how an airline could chose such a color scheme....

All Observe

5 years ago

First, I must complement AJ for a very precise analysis.But, he has perhaps touched only the TIP of THE ICEBERG. First Management of AI-no words to describe it. Bureaucrats-wait for the banana to fall before they eat it.They will never stretch to pluck it,lest the whole tree falls,or the whole garden collapses, etc.They beleive in status-quo! So what if the banana rots & decays,they could not be bothered, because they are not at fault, but the tree or even the God who created the banana is at fault. ! A professional will visit the tree everyday, see which banana is ready for plucking, and then, WITHOUT WASTING TIME, with utmost dexterity pluck it, and not eat it but serve to a whole lot...!!This in short is the TRAGEDY of AI today-lack of a professional!!! No decision & above all fear of action.The Govt in the budget has given it 4K crores, Boeing will be giving millions of $'s, banks have agreed for restructuring to reduce interest burden, ECB route will be opened for cheaper fund access.With all this its finances can meet all its requirements- ' for some time ".But-AI is doing NOTHING on containing its daily crores & crores of losses it is incurring on Flt Operations- except pursuing a self defeating objective of lowering fares to fill up seats.A Sarkari strategy, which does'nt know the difference between passenger nbrs & revenues.Even @ 100% seat full, its flights are making huge losses.Australia route has been the biggest loss making route forever in AI's history-and once again it is going in that direction-withut learning from the Qantas experience.Instead of consolidating, and setting its house in order, with the fresh support from the govt, its inactive management guided by a coterie of self seeking outdated senior executives is desperately seeking self destruction by all these actions & more inaction. Why has not AI till date reduced its huge, unproductive, highly paid manpower, which all & everyone are yelling from the rooftops.Its non-core employees of 55 years & above can be just retrenched-as per the existing rules.Why is it not doing so, which should have been done last year.Because the coterie is getting affected,! and it will NOT ALLOW the management to do it, despite it being a writing on the wall. A 25 to 30 % reduction in employees & wage bill is a MUST. Why is structural reorganisation not being done, despite knowing that there are many duplication of jobs, redundant activities etc. Just a stroll in any AI's office will expose how BUSY, OVERWORKED & COMMITTED its employees are ! Playing scrabble on the pc, or gossiping in small groups in corridors, or in the Medical Clinic to see what all can be extracted etc. The Top level busy on the desk with some data analysis- data which half full is also right & half empty is also right !! This is the state of the company & its employees. In between you have those, pursuing personal agenda of a foreign duty trip by waiting for the bosses, & praising to be the biggest gift of mankind. SYCOPHANCY at its best. Should scarce public money be spent on these employees. It not only pricks the conscience, but makes it bleed, raising the question- is anyone bothered ?? Certainly not-no one is bothered !!!


5 years ago

Dear beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. There are few losers like you who will find fault and bad with anything that has a government tag. You never went there with a open mind or probably went as a agent of private carriers. People like you set examples of biased MEDIA.


All Observe

In Reply to Ram 5 years ago

Thank you Ram- for just calling him an agent of private carrier- and not an agent of America or Pakistan or China. Yes we blame all except ourselves or even to see the reality hitting us. Dont worry your salaries are intact & will continue to come- work or No Work...but for heavens sake spare us the tax paying citizens of this country-


5 years ago

Absolutely true. Planning is the most important thing, Goals top down and plans bottom up. At AI that is not on. Success of airlines are today pivotal on Pricing and Revenue management and not Yield Management. At AI they practice YM and not RM. Empowering the bottom layers of management and making them accountable is unheard of. Also they have a policy where oldies are sent overseas and not young. The result is they just spend time till retirement enjoying and not doing any work while the young and energetic are left to rust at home. You got to send the young overseas get them to acquire experience and then later invest at head office.
Getting new 787 will not be a panacea for current ills in marketing. You need new and dynamic thinking ones at the top in Marketing.

We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.

To continue

Sign Up or Sign In


To continue

Sign Up or Sign In



The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine and Lion Stockletter)