Kingfisher Airlines

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Kingfisher Airlines
Fly kingfisher logo 2011.png
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 2003
Commenced operations 9 May 2005
Ceased operations
  • Oct 2012 (flights suspended)
  • Feb 2013 (licence revoked)
Hubs Bengaluru International Airport
Secondary hubs
Focus cities
Frequent-flyer program King Club
Subsidiaries Kingfisher Xpress
Company slogan Fly The Good Times
Parent company United Breweries Group
Headquarters Mumbai, Maharashtra[3][4]
Key people
Revenue 25,982.78 crore (US$4.1 billion) (2012)
Net income 8,765.9 crore (US$1.4 billion) (2012)
Employees 5,696 (2012)

Kingfisher Airlines Limited was an airline group based in India. Its head office is in Andheri (East), Mumbai and registered office in UB City, Bengaluru. Kingfisher Airlines, through its parent company United Breweries Group, had a 50% stake in low-cost carrier Kingfisher Red. Until December 2011, Kingfisher Airlines had the second largest share in India's domestic air travel market. However, the airline had been facing financial issues for many years,[5] and due to a severe financial crisis faced by the airline at the beginning of 2012, this share dropped to the lowest in the market in April 2012.[6][7]

Kingfisher Airlines shut down its operations and locked out its employees for several days when on 24 October 2012[dubious ] the DGCA suspended its flight certificate[citation needed]. The suspension resulted from the airline's failure to give an effective response to the show-cause notice issued by the DGCA[further explanation needed]. On 25 October 2012, its employees agreed to return to work.[8] However, in February 2013 the Indian government announced the withdrawal of both domestic and international flight entitlements allocated to the airline.[9] The CEO quit on 17 February 2014.[10]


Kingfisher Airlines was established in 2003. It was owned by the Bengaluru based United Breweries Group. The airline started commercial operations on 9 May 2005 with a fleet of four new Airbus A320-200s operating a flight from Mumbai to Delhi.[11] It started its international operations on 3 September 2008 by connecting Bengaluru with London. Kingfisher's head office was located in The Qube in Andheri (East), Mumbai and its registered office was located in UB City, Bengaluru.[12][13] Its head office was previously in the Kingfisher House in Vile Parle (East), Mumbai.[14] In 2012 Vijay Mallya was trying to sell the Vile Parle Kingfisher House.[15] With the freezing of the bank accounts of the airline by the Indian Income Tax Department, the airline entered a period of financial unrest.[16]

In September 2011, the chairman and managing director of Kingfisher Airlines made following disclosure to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE): "The company has incurred substantial losses and its net worth has been eroded. However, having regard to improvement in the economic sentiment, rationalization measures adopted by the company, fleet recovery and the implementation of the debt recast package with the lenders and promoters including conversion of debt into share capital, these interim financial statements have been prepared on the basis that the company is a going concern and that no adjustments are required to the carrying value of assets and liabilities"[17] This filing was widely covered by Indian and international print and electronic media and analysts. It was stated by analysts and media that the company needed capital infusion to remain viable and this has pushed shares to near historic lows.[18] Kingfisher Airlines Lenders later stated they consider that company is viable.[19] On 15 November 2011 the airline released poor financial results, indicating that it was "drowning in high-interest debt and losing money". Mallya indicated that his solution was for the government to reduce fuel and other taxes. The government was engaged in assessing whether to bail out the company and other airlines or let market forces determine which ones survive.[20]

A closed counter after Kingfisher Airlines stopped its service

Ever since the airline commenced operations in 2005, it reported losses. After acquiring Air Deccan, Kingfisher suffered a loss of over 10 billion (US$160 million) for three consecutive years. By early 2012, the airline accumulated losses of over 70 billion (US$1.1 billion) with half of its fleet grounded and several members of its staff going on strike. However, Air Deccan was already making losses even before it was acquired by Kingfisher. A fact which was overlooked by Vijay Mallya and his team who never went through the books of the loss making Air Deccan. Many believe this was the deal that brought down his empire; courtesy of N M Rothschild consultants who brokered the deal.[21] Kingfisher's position in top Indian airlines on the basis of market share had slipped to last from 2 because of the crisis. In December 2011, for the second time in two months, Kingfisher's bank accounts were frozen by the Mumbai Income Tax department for non-payment of dues. Kingfisher Airlines owes 700 million (US$11 million) to the service tax department.[22] Indian tax body also stated Kingfisher Airlines is delinquent[23] On 20 October 2012, Kingfisher's licence was suspended by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation after it failed to address the Indian regulator's concerns about its operations.[24] On 25 February 2013, its international flying rights and domestic slots were scrapped by the Indian aviation authorities.[25]

In July 2014, Kingfisher Airlines appeared as the country's top NPA after its failure to repay loans of over 40 billion (US$620 million) borrowed mainly from state-owned banks.[26]


As of 10 April 2012, Kingfisher Airlines served 25 domestic destinations within India. It had suspended all international operations from 10 April 2012 with the final flight between London Heathrow and Delhi.[27] When the airline was flying its last, all routes were operated with the Airbus A320 family, ATR 42s and ATR 72 aircraft. Its first long haul destination was London, England, which was launched in September 2008. It had plans to launch new long haul flights to cities in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania with deliveries of new aircraft. All long haul routes used to be operated on the Airbus A330-200.

Codeshare agreements[edit]

Prior to the suspension from IATA, Kingfisher had codeshare agreements with:


Kingfisher Airbus A320-200
Kingfisher Airbus A340-500. Six of them were ordered in 2006 and scheduled for delivery in 2008 for the airline's planned non-stop service from Bangalore to San Francisco but the orders were cancelled after five were built. Two planes were delivered to Hi Fly which operated them for Arik Air, Two were delivered to Azerbaijan Airlines and one was delivered to the Tunisian Government which sold its Airbus A340-500 to the Turkish Government

Kingfisher Airlines' fleet mainly consisted of ATR 42, ATR 72 and Airbus A320 family aircraft for domestic and short-haul services; and, Airbus A330-200s for international long-haul services. The ATRs and a few aircraft from the A320 family were used for Kingfisher Red services. In March 2012, Kingfisher Airlines had the following, already heavily downsized fleet:[30]

Kingfisher Airlines Fleet
Aircraft Total Passengers Notes
P Y Total
Airbus A319-100 5 0 144 144
Airbus A320 21 25 114 134
15 174 174
10 180 180
Airbus A321-200 8 32 119 151
0 199 199
Total 34

At the time the airline ceased operations, it had Airbus A320, Airbus A350 XWB and Airbus A380 aircraft on order.[31]




Economy class meal on board a Kingfisher Airlines domestic flight
Kingfisher First

The domestic Kingfisher First seats had a 48-inch seat pitch and a 126-degree seat recline. There were laptop and mobile phone chargers on every seat. Passengers could avail of the latest international newspapers and magazines. There was also a steam ironing service on board Kingfisher First cabins. Every seat was equipped with a personalised IFE system with AVOD which offered a wide range of Hollywood and Bollywood movies, English and Hindi TV programmes, 16 live TV channels and 10 channels of Kingfisher Radio. Passengers also got BOSE noise cancellation headphones. Domestic Kingfisher First was only available on selected Airbus A320 family aircraft.

Kingfisher Class

The domestic Kingfisher Class had 32-34 inch seat pitch. Every seat was equipped with personal IFE systems with AVOD on board the Airbus A320 family aircraft. As in Kingfisher First, passengers could access movies, English and Hindi TV programmes, a few live TV channels powered by DishTV, and Kingfisher Radio. The screen was controlled by a controller-console on the seat armrest. Earcup headphones were provided free of cost to all passengers. The default channel showed, alternating every few seconds, the aeroplane's ground speed, outside temperature, altitude, distance and time to destination, the position of the aircraft on a graphical map, and one or more advertisements. Passengers were served meals on most flights. Before take-off, passengers were served bottled lemonade. Along with the headphones a pen and a keychain with the Kingfisher logo were also given.

Kingfisher Red
Kingfisher Red's logo

Kingfisher Airlines acquired Bangalore based low cost carrier Air Deccan in 2007,[32] changed its name to Simplifly Deccan and subsequently converted it to Kingfisher Red, Kingfisher Airline's low-cost class on domestic routes. A special edition of Cine Blitz magazine was the only reading material provided. Passengers could earn King Miles even when they flew Kingfisher Red, which they could redeem for free tickets to travel on Kingfisher Airlines or partner airlines. On 28 September 2011, Vijay Mallya announced that the company would soon stop operations of Kingfisher Red as it did not believe in low-cost operations any longer.[33][34]


Kingfisher First

Prior to losing its A330 fleet, Kingfisher offered an international business/first product called Kingfisher First which featured full flat-bed seats with a 180-degree recline, with a seat pitch of 78 inches, and a seat width of 20-24.54 inches.[35] Passengers were given Merino wool blankets, a Salvatore Ferragamo toiletry kit, a pyjama to change into, five-course meals and alcoholic beverages. Also available were in-seat massagers, chargers and USB connectors. Every Kingfisher First seat had a 17-inch widescreen personal television with AVOD touchscreen controls and offered 357 hours of programming content spread over 36 channels, including Hollywood and Bollywood movies along with 16 channels of live TV, so passengers could watch their favorite TV programmes live. There was also a collection of interactive games, a jukebox with customisable playlists and Kingfisher Radio. Passengers are given BOSE noise cancellation headphones. The service on board the Kingfisher First cabins included a social area comprising a full-fledged bar staffed with a bartender, a break-out seating area just nearby fitted with two couches and bar stools, a full-fledged chef on board the aircraft and any-time dining. A turn-down service included the conversion of the seat into a fully flat bed and an air-hostess making the bed when the passenger is ready to sleep. Both Kingfisher First and Kingfisher classes featured mood lighting on the Airbus A330-200 with light schemes corresponding to the time of day and flight position.

Kingfisher Class

The international Kingfisher Class (no longer available since Kingfisher lost its A330 long-haul fleet) seats offered a seat pitch of 34 inches, a seat width of 18 inches and a seat recline of 25 degrees (6 inches). Passengers received full length modacrylic blankets, full size pillows and meals. Each Kingfisher Class seat had a 10.6 inch widescreen personal television with AVOD touchscreen controls. The IFE was similar to that of the international Kingfisher First class. It could also be controlled by a detachable remote-control console fitted in the armrest. This device could be used to control the IFE, reading-lights, play games and even has a credit-card swipe for shopping on Kingfisher's 'Air Boutique'. It also had a facility for sending text-messages, though the service wasn't provided by Kingfisher.

In-flight entertainment[edit]

Kingfisher's IFE system was the Thales TopSeries i3000/i4000 on board the Airbus A320 family aircraft, and Thales TopSeries i5000 on board the Airbus A330 family aircraft provided by the France-based Thales Group.[36] Kingfisher was the first Indian airline to have in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems on every seat even on domestic flights. All passengers were given a "welcome kit" consisting of goodies such as a pen, facial tissue and headphones to use with the IFE system. Before Kingfisher shutdown, passengers of Kingfisher class were not given "welcome kits" but, as mentioned earlier, a complimentary bottle of lemonade and earphones for use with the IFE were still given until shutdown. The inflight magazines were special editions of magazines owned by Mallya's media publishing house (VJM Media) viz. Hi! Blitz for domestic flights and Hi! Living for international flights. Initially, passengers were able to watch only recorded TV programming on the IFE system, but later an alliance was formed with Dish TV to provide live TV in-flight.[37] And in a marked departure from tradition, Kingfisher Airlines decided to have an on-screen safety demonstration using the IFE system, however the conventional safety briefing by the flight attendants still existed on many flights.

King Club[edit]

King Club Logo.png

The frequent-flyer program of Kingfisher Airlines was called the King Club in which members earned King Miles every time they flew with Kingfisher or its partner airlines, hotels, car rental, finance and lifestyle businesses. There were four levels in the scheme: Red, Silver, Gold and Platinum levels. Members could redeem points for over a number of schemes. Platinum, Gold and Silver members enjoyed access to the Kingfisher Lounge, priority check-in, excess baggage allowance, bonus miles, and 3 Kingfisher First upgrade vouchers for Gold membership. Platinum members got 5 upgrade vouchers.


Kingfisher Xpress[edit]

Kingfisher Xpress was a Door-to-Door cargo delivery service from Kingfisher Airlines. Kingfisher Xpress same day service would have been India's first and only same day delivery by air service. The service offered a pick up facility in the 8 main metropolitan cities of India namely Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Cochin and Kolkata with guaranteed[38] same day delivery in up to 22 cities[39] of India namely Ahmedabad, Bagdogra, Bangalore, Chennai, Coimbatore, Delhi, Kochi, Goa, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Kolkata, Mumbai, Patna, Raipur, Ranchi, Lucknow, Nagpur, Pune, Srinagar and Tiruvanathapuram.[40]

Kingfisher Lounge[edit]

Kingfisher Lounges were offered to Kingfisher First passengers, along with King Club Silver and King Club Gold members. Lounges were located in:

Awards and achievements[edit]

According to the airline, it received numerous awards and accolades:[41]

Test flight of EC155 B1 of Kingfisher Airlines
  • Kingfisher Airlines frequent flyer programme, King Club has won Top Honours at the 21st Annual Freddie Awards in the Japan, Pacific, Asia and Australia region.
    • King Club has won the Freddie Awards 2008 in the following categories:
      • Best Bonus Promotion
      • Best Customer Service
      • Best Member Communications (First Runner-up)
      • Best Award Redemption (First Runner-up)
      • Best Elite Level (Second Runner-up)
      • Best Website (Second Runner-up)
      • Program of the Year (Second Runner-up)
  • Kingfisher Airlines has received three global awards at the Skytrax World Airline Awards 2010
    • Named Best Airline in India / Central Asia; Best Cabin Crew – Central Asia.
    • Kingfisher RED named Best Low Cost Airline in India / Central Asia.
  • NDTV Profit Business Leadership Award for Aviation.
  • Rated India's Second Buzziest Brand 2008 by The Brand Reporter.
  • Ranked amongst India's Top Service Brands of 2008 by Pitch Magazine
  • Voted as India's Favourite Airline
  • Rated as Asia Pacific's Top Airline Brand
  • Brand Leadership Award
  • Economic Times Avaya Award 2006 for Excellence in Customer Responsiveness.
  • India's No. 1 Airline in customer satisfaction by Business World
  • Rated amongst India's most respected companies by Business World
  • Rated amongst India's 25 Innovative Companies by Planman Media in 2006.
  • The Best Airline and India's Favourite Carrier in a Survey conducted by IMB for The Times of India.
  • Best New Domestic Airline for Excellent Services and Cuisine by Pacific Area Travel Writers Association (PATWA).
  • Service Excellence 2005-2006 for a New Airline by Skytrax.
  • Ranked Third in the survey on India's Most Successful Brand launch of 2005 under the Brand Derby Survey conducted by Business Standard.
  • Buzziest Brands of 2005 by agencyfaqs and The Brand Reporter.
  • Rated amongst the Top Ten Internet Advertisers by Yahoo.
  • Rated amongst the top ten in the Best Television Commercial Jingles by NDTV.
  • Best New Airline of the Year Award for 2005 by Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) Award in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East region.
  • Listed in the top 100 most trusted brand in The Brand Trust Report.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 10 November 2009, Flight 4124 operated by ATR 72-500 VT-KAC, skidded off the runway after landing at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. The aircraft suffered substantial damage, but all 46 passengers and crew escaped unharmed.[42] In November 2010, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation released its final report into the accident. It revealed that the cause of the accident was pilot error, with the aircraft landing at too high a speed and too far down Runway 27A, which was the designation given to Runway 27 whilst it was being operated at a reduced length due to the closure of Runway 14/32 for maintenance.[43]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Kingfisher Airlines". ch-aviation. Retrieved 26 February 2017. 
  2. ^ "7340.1Z - Contractions" (PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. 15 March 2007. p. 3-1-55. Retrieved 26 February 2017. 
  3. ^ "Airline Membership". IATA. Archived from the original on 11 July 2015. 
  4. ^ "KFA Office". KFA. 
  5. ^ India Today, Kingfisher in trouble: Vijay Mallya refuses to accept his business model is to be blamed for crisis, 19 November 2011, retrieved 4 December 2011
  6. ^ "Kingfisher Airlines's market share lowest in country - The Times of India". The Times of India. 
  7. ^ Govt suspends Kingfisher Airlines' licence | Reuters. Retrieved on 23 December 2013.
  8. ^ "Kingfisher Airlines staff agree to resume work". Reuters. Retrieved 25 October 2012. 
  9. ^ "Kingfisher Fails to Renew License Causing Withdrawal of Flights". India Internal 
  10. ^ Kingfisher Airlines CEO Sanjay Aggarwal quits. Livemint (17 February 2014). Retrieved on 21 May 2014.
  11. ^ "Kingfisher Airlines to take wings on May 9". 9 May 2005. Archived from the original on 12 November 2010. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  12. ^ "[1]." Kingfisher Airlines. Retrieved on 12 January 2012. "Kingfisher Airlines Limited Kingfisher Airlines Limited The Qube, C.T.S. No. 1498 A/2, 4th Floor, M.V. Road, Marol, Andheri (East), Mumbai - 400 059 India "
  13. ^ ENS Economic Bureau. "Jet, Kingfisher trying to fly in formation." Indian Express. Tuesday 14 October 2008. Retrieved on 25 August 2009.
  14. ^ "Contact Us." Kingfisher Airlines. Retrieved on 25 August 2009. "Kingfisher Airlines Limited Kingfisher House Western Express Highway Vile Parle (E) Mumbai - 400099 India "
  15. ^ "Kingfisher house, Gandhi relics up for sale?" Mid Day. 12 March 2012. Retrieved on 15 March 2012.
  16. ^ "Financial Results". 
  17. ^ "Going concern". 
  18. ^ "Reuters News". 15 September 2011. 
  19. ^ Chowdhury, Anirban; Choudhury, Santanu (15 September 2011). "Lenders Confirmation". The Wall Street Journal. 
  20. ^ Niles, Russ (15 November 2011). "Indian Airlines In Crisis". AVweb. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  21. ^ Kasli, Shelley (September 11, 2016). "What Has A Secret Account In Rothschild Bank To Do With The Kingfisher Deal?". GreatGameIndia Magazine. 
  22. ^ "Bank Account frozen". 
  23. ^ Choudhury, Santanu (9 December 2011). "Kingfisher Airlines delinquent". The Wall Street Journal. 
  24. ^ [2] Archived 24 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  25. ^ Ministry to give Kingfisher local slots, global flying rights to other carriers
  26. ^ "Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines is king of defaulters at Rs 4,022 crore". Patrika Group (17 July 2014). Retrieved 17 July 2014. 
  27. ^ "India's Kingfisher Airlines ends overseas flights". BBC News. 10 April 2012. 
  28. ^ "Kingfisher Airlines and American Airlines enter into Codeshare Agreement". Kingfisher Airlines official website. 23 November 2010. Archived from the original on 25 November 2010. Retrieved 23 November 2010. 
  29. ^ PR-IT code share
  30. ^ "Kingfisher Airlines Fleet". 15 August 2010. Archived from the original on 24 August 2010. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  31. ^
  32. ^ "Kingfisher buys control of Air Deccan". Times of India. 1 June 2007. Retrieved 20 August 2012. 
  33. ^ "Kingfisher to exit low-cost airline operation". CNN IBN. 28 September 2011. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  34. ^ "Vijay Mallya grounds low-cost carrier Kingfisher Red". NDTV. 28 September 2011. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  35. ^ Skytrax News. "Kingfisher Airlines unveiled new Airbus A330-200 designed to take the customer experience to the highest quality level". Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  36. ^ Ravi Teja Sharma / New Delhi 5 October 2006 (5 October 2006). "Airborne again: IFE systems". Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  37. ^ "Kingfisher partners with Dish TV". 9 December 2006. Archived from the original on 20 November 2008. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  38. ^ "Kingfisher’s new ‘Xpress’ cargo service". Routesonline. 29 January 2010. Retrieved 8 September 2010. 
  39. ^ "Kingfisher cargo service from February 2 - Money - DNA". 30 January 2010. Retrieved 8 September 2010. 
  40. ^ "Tamil Nadu / Coimbatore News : Kingfisher Xpress cargo service from February 2". The Hindu. 1 February 2010. Retrieved 8 September 2010. 
  41. ^ "Achievements and Awards". Archived from the original on 24 July 2010. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  42. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 11 November 2009. 
  43. ^ "Report on Serious Incident to M/S Kingfisher Airlines ATR-72 Aircraft VT-KAC at Mumbai on 10.11.2009." (PDF). Directorate General of Civil Aviation. Retrieved 25 November 2010. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Kingfisher Airlines at Wikimedia Commons