Kingfisher defers some Airbus deliveries

Written by Reuters | Mumbai, August 27: | Updated: Aug 28 2008, 00:08am hrs
Indian carrier Kingfisher Airlines has deferred deliveries of some Airbus aircraft, wary of overcapacity as airlines struggle to cut costs to offset high fuel prices and softer demand.

The airline, a unit of alcoholic drinks maker UB Group, has negotiated with Airbus to defer deliveries of 32 A320-family aircraft to 2010-12 from 2008/09, Chief Financial Officer Ravi Nedungadi said on Wednesday.

Also, five of the 10 long-haul A340 aircraft on order have been converted to A330/200s, he said.

Kingfisher, which is scheduled to launch its inaugural international flight from Bangalore to London on Sept. 3, is also negotiating to sell two of the remaining five A340s on order, leaving three for its planned operations to the United States.

"We are already looking at overcapacity in the industry," Nedungadi said.

Kingfisher, which owns discount carrier Deccan Aviation, has five A380 superjumbos on order, scheduled for delivery from 2012, as well as 20 A350 aircraft scheduled for delivery from 2013.

It also has a further 20 A330/200 aircraft on order, making it one of the single largest stakeholders in the Airbus order backlog by number of planes.

The Indian aviation industry lost $700 million in 2007/08 and is widely forecast to double losses in 2008/09. Airlines have cut loss-making routes and raised fares to offset rising jet fuel prices and softer demand.