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Kingfisher Airlines' entry into OneWorld put on hold

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 04, 2012 Published on February 04, 2012

According to the airline, the decision has been taken to give the airline time to strengthen its financial position.

The entry of cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines into the global airline alliance OneWorld has been put on hold, it was announced late on Friday night. The announcement came a week before “implementation” of Kingfisher into the global alliance which was planned for February 10.

An official statement issued by Kingfisher states that the decision has been taken to give the airline time to strengthen its financial position. The airline which has an accumulated debt of over Rs 7,200 crore, saw its losses more than double to Rs 469 crore in the quarter ended September 2011. In 2010-11, the airline incurred a loss of Rs 1,027 crore.

“We have been working closely with Kingfisher Airlines over the past months and it has become increasingly clear recently that the airline needs more time to resolve the financial issues it is confronting before it can be welcomed into OneWorld,” oneworld Chief Executive Officer, Mr Bruce Ashby said.

"In light of the many priorities centred around Kingfisher Airlines’ recapitalisation efforts, we felt it prudent to defer our entry into the alliance for a little while. This will allow us the opportunity to focus on the issues at hand and we look forward to being part of the Oneworld alliance very shortly," the airline Chairman, Mr Vijay Mallya, added.

It was in February 2010 that Kingfisher Airlines signed a memorandum of understanding for joining the global airline alliance, a process which should have taken about 18 months.

Kingfisher’s entry into OneWorld would have added more than 50 cities to the OneWorld map – all of them in India. This would have expanded OneWorld's network to 800 destinations in almost 150 countries, served by a combined fleet of 2,350 aircraft operating some 9,000 flights a day, and carrying 340 million passengers a year.

Established OneWorld members include American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Japan Airlines, Qantas and Royal Jordanian.

Kingfisher is the second airline from India which has been unsuccessful in its efforts to join a global airline alliance. In August 2011 the global airline alliance, Star Alliance had announced that Air India’s membership to the global alliance had been put on hold.

ashphadnis@thehindu.co.in

Published on February 04, 2012
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