Kingfisher Airlines: Flamboyance Personified

kingfisher2.jpgTwenty- Nine months ago Kingfisher Airlines took off as a gift from the flamboyant liquor baron Vijay Mallya to his son Siddharth on his 16th Birthday. Today, two years down the line, Kingfisher has staked claim to a major portion of the revenue from the domestic airlines sector. What’s more, it’s all set to achieve break even by the next financial year.

During its initial days, Kingfisher Airlines was regarded as an extension of Mr. Mallya’s colorful personality. Not without reason, free drinks, rising hemlines , became the hallmark features of the new airline. Industry insiders dismissed Kingfisher as the ‘airline for the wealthy’. Many advised Kingfisher to slash rates. But that never happened. Kingfisher never slashed its rates, after all their working motto was to make the passenger feel like a ‘king’, even if it meant taking an extra piece of currency from the passenger, I mean King’s pocket.

The experience of flying with Kingfisher will indeed have you believe that the company has done justice to its motto. Live television broadcast during the flight has been highly appreciated by the business travelers, who can easily keep track of the stock situation, that way. And of course flights are peeped up by the option of watching live sports action!

Along with providing, a luxurious set up onboard the flight; there is a lot Kingfisher has achieved on the ground, more specifically on the financial front. In little more than two years, the company has increased its market share from 2 % to a substantial 13%. It is now also a major stake holder in Air Deccan. The company is quite a thinker when it comes to the managerial front too. The methods it implements for cutting costs are quite innovative and at the same time effective too. One of them is cutting down the staff employed per flight. Today Kingfisher employs only 117 employees per airline as compared to the 175 people employed by Jet. Such step a combined with shared infrastructure and striking better deals with local vendors , has enabled Kingfisher to save upto Rs. 300 crores.

I personally believe that there us a lot of thinking that underlies the supposed ‘flamboyance’ of the newly crowned Prince of the air…’ The Kingfisher’. Mr Mallya by sticking to his motto of ‘Luxury above all’ is selling it to the people with much gusto and success. For a country where imitation is considered an art, the new avenues that Kingfisher has opened for itself by emphasizing the hospitality aspect in the airlines business, is laudable. With Air Deccan under its wings, Kingfisher controls one- fourth of the market, making it a strong contender for the Numero Uno position in an industry, which never took its claim to luxury, seriously.

Bhuvan Neel Sharma