When King turned pauper

Nov 11, 2011, 07:20 IST | MiD DAY Correspondent
Even as Karina Airlines, a regional operator catering to the northern states, became the newest entrant into the Indian skies, the country's second largest carrier Kingfisher Airlines is in turbulence. With the oil companies alleging that Kingfisher owes themĀ  Rs 200 crore, over 80 flights cancelled, pilots quitting, none of Vijay Mallya's strategies have worked.

An example is its decision to exit the low-fare segment. It is baffling, to say the least, especially when the country's largest airline, Jet Airways is expanding its low-fare share. It should have been the other way roundĀ -- competing only in low cost segment, to have any chances of making profits. However, what is being overlooked is the negative impact of brand dilution on the Kingfisher beverage business.

Similar to the Maharaja's plight, Kingfisher too has not paid October salaries amid reports of 100 pilots quitting and a $260 million saved with the reported cancellation of two new aircrafts from Airbus.

Why would a beer baron enter a cash guzzling venture, corroborated by mounting losses of airlines world over? But as a blogger said, what better a manner to flaunt flamboyance and further invigorate an already thriving brand, than starting a full premier service airline. But, flamboyance has its cost, though it might be more expensive than what Mallya would have anticipated.

So while he would give anyone a run for his money in style quotient, the King of Good Times certainly would look out of place competing in a sabse sasta kaun. Back in 2008, MiD DAY, scooped out an internal communication from Kingfisher Airlines higher-ups to pilots, which showed how the airline was forced to fly certain non-profitable routes due to 'political reasons.' Though it might be too late for the airline, Mallya should go back to where he belongs, and more importantly, do what he does best.

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