Home / Companies / Kingfisher Airlines slips to 5th place by market share

Mumbai: Struggling Kingfisher Airlines fell to fifth place in domestic market share during November, from third in the previous month, after the cash-strapped carrier grounded planes and cut routes, government data showed.

Kingfisher, which was once India’s second largest carrier by passengers, recorded a market share of 14%, ahead only of budget carrier Go Airlines, during the month.

Kingfisher chairman Vijay Mallya. Photo: AP

The country’s largest airline, Jet Airways, including its unit JetLite, had the largest market share of 27.1%, followed by budget carrier IndiGo with 19.8% and Air India with a 17.4%, the data showed.

Kingfisher chairman Vijay Mallya said last month that Kingfisher stopped flying on heavily loss-making routes, and the carrier had also grounded some aircraft for fleet reconfiguration after the airline decided to discontinue its low-cost business.

Debt-laden Kingfisher is scouting for funds and is negotiating with its lenders for 7 billion ($132.6 million) of working capital.

It has debt of about 65 billion ($1.23 billion) owed to a consortium of banks led by State Bank of India (SBI).

The airline aims to cut debt to 37 billion through sale and lease-back of aircraft, sale of a property in Mumbai and conversion of rupee loans into foreign loans at a lower interest rate.

Domestic air traffic rose 17.6% to 55 million passengers in the first 11 months of 2011, data showed.

That growth has failed to translate into profits for India’s airline industry, where all the major carriers except IndiGo are loss-making, hit by high jet fuel costs and an inability to raise fares in a cut-throat market.

The Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) has forecast a record $2.5 billion to $3 billion loss for Indian airlines for the fiscal year ending March 2012, with state-run Air India alone likely to account for more than half of it.

In the morning trade, shares of Kingfisher were 1.85 % lower at 21.20 in a weak Mumbai market that was down 0.74%. Its stock has fallen over 67% so far this year.

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