Forbes billionaire Vijay Mallya seems to be silently watching his beloved Kingfisher Airlines erode into dust. Once a top three airline in India with double digit market share of more than 15 percent, striking pilots, layoffs and grounded fights has Kingfisher tied for dead last among the major carriers with just a 7 percent share of the Indian domestic fight market.
They are tied with GoAir, a smaller discount airline.
IndiGo, a large no-frills flier, sort of like the U.S. Southwest Airlines, is the leader with a 27 percent of the market share in July 2012. The Civil Aviation Ministry said Friday that Jet Airways and its subsidiary JetLite - combined – had slipped from number one to number two at 26.6 percent market share. Government run Air India actually saw an increase in July to 18.2 percent from around 16 percent, according to authorities.
Kingfisher Airlines started to sink into a financial crisis early this year, aided by striking workers looking for salary payments in arrears. International flights and several of Kingfisher’s domestic flights were cancelled. Out of around 64 aircraft, most of them Airbusses, only 22 were known to be operational by late February and less than that are airborne today. At the time, Kingfisher’s market share clearly dropped to 11.3 percent. It continues to fall while other rivals pick up the slack. Kingfisher will likely have a hard time recovering this market share due to its much publicized and heated labor dispute, and its overall reduction in customer service to passengers. The airline dropped its application from joining the One World Alliance because of its ongoing financial troubles.
IndiGo is owned by InterGlobe Aviation Limited, a privately held company. It flies Airbus A320-200s throughout the country from its hub at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport and to five cities in the Middle East and southeast Asia.