Kingfisher flies London today; BA starts price war

Written by Shaheen Mansuri | Bangalore, Sep 2 | Updated: Sep 3 2008, 07:34am hrs
Bullish on international traffic from India, Vijay Mallya, chairman and CEO of Kingfisher Airlines, on Tuesday announced daily non-stop flights between Bangalore and London from Wednesday. Mallya said, Currently, nearly 70% of the international carriers dominate international traffic to and from India. With Kingfisher going international, Indian carriers will grab a hefty share of the international network.

Meanwhile, British Airways has sparked off a new round of fare war in the India-London sector by cutting base fares by as much as Rs 5,000 a ticket to Rs 9,990. A one-way economy ticket on British Airways that earlier cost close to Rs 26,000 (base fare of Rs 15,015 and taxes of about Rs 10,500) now costs about Rs 20,500. The move came just a day ahead of Kingfisher Airlines launching its maiden international flight connecting Bangalore to London.

Kinghfishers flight from Bangalore will depart at 8.40 am and arrive at Londons Heathrow airport at 2.50 pm (local time). The return flight will depart Heathrow at 10.05 pm and arrive in Bangalore the next day at 12.35 pm IST. The flight will be flagged off by civil aviation minister, Prafull Patel. Apart from the passengers, Mallya and the higher rung officials, including the board of directors of the airline will be on board to London on the maiden flight.

When questioned on what would be the gestation period for the international operations, Mallya told FE, We'll break-even on our maiden flight. We have 70% revenue paying guests on board on September 3. On its departure from London, the flight has 134 seats booked for September 5 from London. He said in the next few weeks, more international operations like Bangalore-Singapore, Bangalore- Bangkok and Mumbai-London will be launched. Mallya also plans to raise equity of $400 million for expanding its network internationally. However, he did not mention the timeline for raising the equity.