New Delhi: India’s second biggest airline firm, Kingfisher Airlines Ltd, will launch its first flight to West Asia connecting Bangalore with Dubai next month, which?could?fuel?another?round of fare cuts on the sector.
Kingfisher Airlines had launched its international operations in September, connecting Bangalore with a daily non-stop London flight, followed by a Mumbai-London flight that started on Monday.
By end of January, Hong Kong, Singapore and Colombo will also become part of its network, the airline has said.
It will fly the Airbus SAS-made A320 aircraft for its daily Dubai flights with a single class economy offering from 8 February, according to an internal company note reviewed by Mint. A Kingfisher Airlines executive, who didn’t want not be named, said the airline may launch more international services after the Dubai launch, without elaborating.
The carrier has permission from the civil aviation ministry for flights between Bangalore-Bangkok, Mumbai-Male, Kolkata-Dhaka and Kolkata-Chittagong. Dubai-based Emirates Airline is the only other carrier flying as many as three direct daily flights between Bangalore and Dubai using wide-body A330 and Boeing 777 aircraft that offer more seats in comparison.
Jet Airways (India) Ltd, which launched West Asia operations last year after the civil aviation ministry lifted a ban restricting only Air India to fly the lucrative West Asian market, has already announced a free ticket for its Dubai flights for every economy or business class ticket bought from Tuesday.
An analyst said with the current economic scenario, it is difficult to imagine any major global expansion by an airline when everyone else is consolidating. Still, “the primary focus (for Kingfisher) will be establishing a presence and getting load factors going”, said Kapil Arora, aviation analyst with audit and consultancy firm Ernst and Young.
Kingfisher, together with its low-cost carrier Kingfisher Red, flies about 438 flights a day with a fleet of 87 aircraft.
Arora predicted Indian carriers may eat into the share of the market controlled by West Asian carriers such as Emirates and Gulf Air by offering lower fares, rather than create a new market.
“It’s not that they have introduced a new sector, so there is no novelty in that sense. They will necessarily have to take away share from existing players. They will have to price attractively,” he said.
State-owned National Aviation Co. of India Ltd’s Air India and Jet Airways, the other two Indian carriers that fly overseas, offer one-stop flights between Bangalore and Dubai.