Gone are the days when you would see Vijay Mallya posing with a bunch of his sexy air hostesses. Now he can’t even pay their salaries.
This is not all; the financial crisis in Kingfisher Airlines has taken somebody’s life. Sushmita Chakravarti, wife of Kingfisher Airlines store manager Manas Chakravarti hung herself to death, with her suicide clearly blaming the airlines for her death.
What has gone wrong all of a sudden? The airlines known for its top-notch aircrafts has now reached its doom.
Is it the result of dreaming big? Perhaps yes!
It was in 2005, when the airline was launched amid all the fanfare. Pictures of Vijay Mallya posing with his posse of women were flashed in all media.
Mallya started the airlines with four or five planes but later he ordered more. He wanted to grow fast and grow big. The sky was his limit, and he had about ninety two planes flying at the start of this year. That’s not all; an order for sixty planes was still pending.
It was the perfect case of excessive indulgence over financial discipline. Not just the tickets even the food served on the flight was twice the cost as that served on other flights like Jet Airways, etc.
It seems as if Mallya never knew which direction to take to reach the sky. Even the investors would have been confused when just after two years of its launch, Mallya initiated the business class.
I think he was trying to beat his best competition, Jet Airways, when he took over Air Deccan. Mallya is a big man with a big ego. Jet airways had launched an overseas brand and that’s what Mallya wanted to do but he could not. The condition to start an international service is that the airline has to serve domestically for five years. But our big man did not have the patience and, using his bloated brain, bought Air Deccan which had been operating for five years and launched it under a new name, “Kingfisher Red”.
All these years, Kingfisher remained an airline that promised style, not substance. Mallya, who had made promises of the profits the airlines would make at the launch, now owes millions of dollars to aircraft leasing companies, suppliers, oil companies and taxes to the government.
No other airline seems to be interested in buying the stakes in Kingfisher, and why should they be? I don’t think any other airline would be ready to get their hands on a company gone broke. Just days ago banks refused to give any more loans to Mallya and with the employees demanded full pay for last six- seven months; Mallya has something to worry about.
However, what interests me more is that while his airlines was facing the worst situations, the man continued spending money on his Formula 1 and IPL teams.
It seems that the man has more guts than money.