Kingfisher Airlines - King of Good Times Caught in Bad Weather?

Kingfisher Airlines - King of Good Times Caught in Bad Weather?

By Edmond Fernandes

The author is a final-year MBBS student and independent journalist. He can be reached at

Feb, 21:
The agony of Kingfisher Airlines is now palpable. With continuing reports of flights being cancelled, the frustration is passing onto the passengers and staff at Kingfisher airlines. In less than six years Kingfisher has already accumulated a debt of over Rs 7500 crore which only increases with each passing hour. Having observed this fact, what is a matter of grave concern is that, the staff at Kingfisher among the ground crew and some of those involved in airline operations haven’t even received their salaries in three months.

For those who thrived on their monthly salaries, today all these are unanswered questions and uncertainty is the only certainty. They work honestly on a daily basis and return home dejected and depressed, robbed of their freedom and tied at the tongue.
How long can those in authority continue to sleep?

Lavish lives with flashy operations, extravagant purchases and costly acquisition in toto have together made it a loss making entity. The staff faces the brunt and Kingfisher seems to have no worries at all.

Confuse people as you like, cancel flights at your disposal and do whatever you like to bail out.

Recently I travelled to Delhi via Kingfisher. Initially the flight was scheduled at 20.00 hours. Later it was delayed and then re-scheduled for 20.45, which later became 2200hours. Finally it left at 2315 hours from Bangalore and reached Delhi after 2hours 40 minutes. What a mess! I can’t blame the poor air crew, but inspite of all this, they didn’t lose their cool and served with a smile without any complains. The anguish was understandable among passengers, because for most of them, its business and commitments and such large scale delays are not acceptable. But what no body realizes is that, we demand everything from those at work in Kingfisher, without knowing that they are working for free.

Is Kingfisher running some charity project? Its auditors have cast doubts on its survival as a growing concern and stock analyst have warned of an impending bankruptcy. If we are to compare the private flyer with India’s National carrier “Air India’ both are in competition.  It’s just that air India had faulty decision making and inexplicable giveaways that brought the national carrier to the cutting edge of ruin.

But Air India continues to be under ICU Monitoring with Ventilator support as the government keeps the saline drips going with finance since it has to save face. While air India has no one to speak for, Kingfisher has an extremely well connected chairman who is also running Force India and having a cricket team to boot besides being a Member of Parliament. Can he for a moment feel the pain of working for 3 months without even being paid a single penny and only continue to receive abuse from passengers for flight delays, cancellations and much more? The situation is very grave and if nothing can be done, at least pay the wages of the staff and let Kingfisher rest in peace for a moment called forever.

There may still be some promise and fuel left in the airlines, but if the pumping pipes are chocked and servicing and oiling does not really help, I think its time to pull the curtains down.

The fact of the matter lies that, in the end power and image matters in India. So no one questions Kingfisher while their Staff continue to rot in the sidelines and no one cares a dam for Air India. These are also serious lessons for other private airlines to think and work smartly. After all, it’s because of the staff and the customers that they continue to still float in troubled waters.


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Comment on this article

  • Dr S Kamath , Mumbai

    Wed, Feb 22 2012

    I think its time to pull the curtains down? You mean Kingfisher should close down ? A Big Loss to Country .whose Money is that Rs 7500 crore ? Our own money that is Public sector banks .Please note Mangalore based Corporation banks also so exposure to this .If Vijay Mallya closes down then he need not pay this money and the whole money is lost .I really appreciate Vijay Mallya for still trying to sail .All of us Media,Wellweishers ,Professionals should whole heartedly him to atleast by giving some good encouraging thoughts so that he shall come out of this mess with flying colours .He is a man of Vision and mission I am sure he will come out with grand success

    DisAgree [3] Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • Yule, Bangalore

    Wed, Feb 22 2012

    Good article Edmond. Its always the employees who bear the brunt for their Employers mistakes.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • L J Pinto, Mangalore/Dubai

    Wed, Feb 22 2012

    I really support Dinesh Poojary and Gopal UK comments. We need to extend moral support to VM at this difficult period. May be during the last few days some flights are being getting cancelled/delayed. Otherwise every guest/passenger travelled by Kingfisher will never say their service was not good.

    I wish and pray once again the Kingfisher will become the King of good times. One more thing Dinesh Poojary has made sensible comments this time. I think he is good in business and not in politics. Keep it up Dinesh

    DisAgree [2] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Evans Christopher Sumitra, Udupi/New York, USA

    Wed, Feb 22 2012

    Mr. Mallya, your are one of the biggest businessman from Karnataka and you will be. You are a strong man and I am sure you will bring KINGFISHER airlines out of the deep crunch. In such a short time you started the airlines business and soon you went international. That is a great achievement but due to government policy and the economy and above all the fuel costs and surcharges there were some drawback. But do not worry as it will soon be over and you will be back in business as usual or may be better. Our good luck to you and we pray for your prosperity and with your prosperity everybody at KINGFISHER will benefit.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sachidanand Shetty, Mundkur/Dubai

    Wed, Feb 22 2012

    When we listen to VM's welcome speech in KF Flights, it says "Welcome to King Fisher......... with personally ed crew members to serve you better...." Dear Mallya Saab, you need better management too run a good business. You are successful only in Liqour Business because you have contribution from low and middle class people. But sky is the limit for everything. "Neerina laabha gaaliyali hoyethe Vittala"

    DisAgree [4] Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • Santhosh Rego, Uppoor/ Dubai

    Wed, Feb 22 2012

    Mr. Mallya started KFA with heavy spending on advertising, calenders etc. From start they taken lot of loans from mostly nationalized banks,may be thinking one day they will write off as bad debts. Actually there is no business plan at all. When start collapsing all blame games starts. It is not liquor business of U.B. or cigarettes business of ITC , there should be proper planning to run the business. Same like Euro Zone debts story, to cover up losses take more loans from nationalize banks. Finally who loses. MALLYA OR NATIONALIZED BANKS????!!!!!!!!!!!GOD KNOWS.

    DisAgree Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Gopala, UK

    Tue, Feb 21 2012

    My Dear Friends, Mr.Mallya took India to a great level in the world map. this is our duty you can call as mangloriens or Kannadigas to support him at his rough days in business.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [12] Reply Report Abuse

  • vnayak, mangalore/switzerland

    Tue, Feb 21 2012

    This is a sad story. On one hand there is Air India which is one of the two or three of the worst Air linees in the world losing crores of Rupees every day and still the government helps them. On the other hand there is Kingfisher which perhaps has the one of the best service in the world does not get any support. And you know why? All the government Babus and their family get a free ride on Air India but not on Kingfisher.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • hassanmukha, mangalore

    Tue, Feb 21 2012

    Mr.Shenoy,it is not the jealousy that people comment on Mallya's lavish spending.He has got the money.It is not a big issue for him.It is like Maha Rastra Apex or Canara Steel etc.The Konkanis are very briliant people to manage the finance.Hence,only answer/solution to all these mess is ,attach his/ his kins and board of directors properties ,wherever they are.Does the gov.has the guts?

    DisAgree [1] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • MKS, Udupi

    Tue, Feb 21 2012

    Mallya has presented lots of seminars on how to become successive businessman.When he was in his peak. This presentation viewed by many people on youtube with numerous hit & I was very much impressed with his speeach. Am surprised how he failed in business ( KF) ?? Million dollar question.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dorothy, Udipi/Dubai

    Tue, Feb 21 2012

    Whatever said and done KF is a very good airline. profit and losses are part of business. I hope Mr. Mallya gets back in action with a bang!!

    DisAgree Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Shetty, Udupi/Muscat

    Tue, Feb 21 2012

    Good man and has always presented India well.

    DisAgree [8] Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dr Oneal, Oz

    Tue, Feb 21 2012

    ITs brilliant stuff written by the author. the government should have cancelled their license long back. didnt know the salaries of staff aren't being paid. really bad story by mallya. he spends all his money on girls

    DisAgree [7] Agree [24] Reply Report Abuse

  • Peter Pereira, Pune

    Tue, Feb 21 2012

    Mallya sir, many of your fans commenting on your behalf are waiting for Kingfisher Calendar 2013. Jai hoooo

    DisAgree [5] Agree [29] Reply Report Abuse

  • Kamath, M'lore

    Tue, Feb 21 2012

    Ministry of Aviation has destroyed the industry with unreasonble costs being levied on the private airlines like high fees for airport use etc.

    DisAgree [8] Agree [24] Reply Report Abuse

  • Arman, Managalore

    Tue, Feb 21 2012

    One more bailout......from tax payers money..........Sad to see whats happening in world.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [13] Reply Report Abuse

  • ANZ, mangalore

    Tue, Feb 21 2012

    Mr. Dinesh Poojary,
    FYI, VJM bought Tippu's sword at an auction. He could not bring it to India as he had to pay a hefty amount as Import Duty. It is now a display item at his house in Los Angeles.

    DisAgree [5] Agree [24] Reply Report Abuse

  • Pamanabha Shenoy, Udupi/Saudi Arabia

    Tue, Feb 21 2012

    It is sad to know that King Fisher is suffering with huge debt crisis. But I am sure about Mr. Mallya that he will find a way out of this mess. He is a great business man we have ever seen in this world. In every organisation there is good time and bad time. Let us hope this bad time will end soon. I have full confidence in Mr. Vijaya Mallya. I do not accept people to be jealous of his lavish life and coment on it.

    DisAgree [6] Agree [16] Reply Report Abuse

  • Prajwal, Mlore

    Tue, Feb 21 2012

    No body can even imagine his pain/frustration.there is only one solution left for Mr.Mally that its right time to sell all his aircrafts and return the money back instead of unnecessarily increasing/holding outstanding payments with vendors.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [20] Reply Report Abuse

  • tresa , Mangalore

    Tue, Feb 21 2012

    Very well said and thoughtfully written wherein it is real and true. Yes Mr. Chairman, you need to be more serious in your business or it is high time you retire and enjoy your lavish life.

    DisAgree [15] Agree [57] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dinesh Poojary, Kundapura/Bengaluru

    Tue, Feb 21 2012

    Dear Mallya,

    You are a pride of Karnataka. You have made Kannadigas proud with your excellent business skills. You have succeeded in all your ventures..

    You are the one who brought back Tippu's sword and Gandhiji's monuments from looters of Britain.

    Good and bad time is part of everyone's life. We all hope that you will come out of this crisis and stabilize soon. We are waiting to see you at Chinnaswamy stadium with BENGALURU ROYAL CHALLENGERS in the coming IPL season. Your boys will win IPL 2012 for sure...

    God bless you...

    DisAgree [35] Agree [97] Reply Report Abuse

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