Kingfisher’s Spreading its Wings

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Aug. 27 – Business tycoon and Indian Richard Branson Vijay Mallya has recieved the green signal from the ministry of Aviation to fly his recently acquired Deccan Air internationally. This marks India's third International flight service, following Air India and Jet Airways.

Kingfisher Airlines will to fly to Thailand, Singapore, San Francisco, London and the UAE, amongst other destinations. The airlines is expected to launch their service from Banglore to London, Heathrow on the 3rd of September, the Economic Times reported.

Mallya will fly internationally under the Deccan name, as he hasn't recieved permission to fly internationally under the Kingfisher name yet. Mallya's UB-Group-owned full service provider, Kingfisher Airlines bought out low-cost Indian carrier Deccan Aviation last year, giving it the right to fly abroad. Under domestic aviation rules carriers less than five years old cannot fly internationally.

While Kingfisher would be eligible to start international operations only in 2010, as it is only into the third year of its operations, Deccan completes five years of service at the end of this month. With the expiry of the moratorium, it now allows Kingfisher to piggyback on its licence.

The launch of Kingfishers airline is expected to set off a new price war in Bangalore-London flights, even at a time when fuel costs are soaring. The Economic Times said Kingfisher is pricing its round trip for economy-class travellers at Rs 43,520 compared to British Airways’ Rs 43,875. A round trip in the Kingfisher First Class will cost Rs 1,61,800 and an official of the Bangalore-based carrier said it was pricier than the average Rs 1.4 lakh charged by British Airways.

However, travel industry sources put BA’s going rate for its business-class tickets at Rs 1,64,750, even though a fare cut by the carrier to counter competition from Kingfisher is seen as a possibility.

Travel industry sources also said that nearly two-thirds of the British carrier’s passengers stop over in London en route to other destinations. Kingfisher is expected to announce in a few days alliances with international carriers so that its passengers to London can link up for onward travel.

Kingfisher says first-class passengers on its Airbus A330-220 link between Bangalore and London can expect, among other things, an in-seat massager, five-course meals, a social area with a bar and even a spectacle-cleaning service!

The flight from Bangalore will leave at 8.40 am and arrive at London Heathrow’s Terminal 4 at 2.50 pm, local time. The return flight will depart Heathrow at 10.05 pm and arrive in Bangalore the next day at 12.35 pm, local time.