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Kingfisher Airlines aiming for an IPO in 2006

     Mumbai: Kingfisher Airlines is aiming for an IPO of its shares in 2006 to raise funds to finance the purchase of its aircrafts. The airline, a wholly owned subsidiary of the liquor behemoth United Breweries, said it would seek to open new routes in the months ahead to compete effectively with other budget and full- service carriers. Kingfisher Airlines would also float an employee stock option plan as part of its IPO exercise. "I have not thought about the size of the IPO as yet because all the employees of Kingfisher Airlines are being given stock options, and after that , we can decide. First of all, the UB Board has to decide on dilution. After that, we can tell you the size of the IPO," said Dr. Vijay Mallaya, UB Group Chairman. Jet Airways, a leading private aviation major, made a successful stock market debut this year. India's first low-cost airline Deccan Air is also firming up plans to float public shares. Replying to the question of whether Kingfisher Airlines will acquire Sahara Airlines, Mallaya said "I have no discussion about taking over any airline in India and certainly not Sahara. There have been speculations, but I have had no conversations at all." On Kingfisher Airlines' route expansion plans, Mallya said it would launch a flight from Mumbai to Goa from August 11. The service will be offered twice daily. The airline will also start operating five daily flights on the busy Mumbai - Delhi route by end August. Kingfisher Airlines currently offers services in the Mumbai- Bangalore and the Delhi-Bangalore sectors. It presently owns two Airbus-320 planes. The airline plans to expand its fleet to 10 - eight Airbus 320s and two Airbus 319s - by December 2005.
- July 22,  2005

Indian Airlines activates massive hiring plan (Go To Top)

     New Delhi: The Indian Government's decision to go ahead with its "Open Skies" policy has set off a competitive spirit among the country's airlines, both public and private. So much so, that the country's main domestic carrier -- Indian Airlines -- has announced plans for a massive hiring exercise to boost its services to the discerning passengers. Informed company sources projected the hiring drive as one of the biggest being undertaken, and said it could possibly include the recruitment of more than 200 pilots, at least 250 engineers and 400 cabine crew. The sources said that the recruitment process would commence from the first week of August, and would be followed by an advertising blitz in various media networks. Those selected as pilots and engineers will be deployed to fly and service the carrier's A319 and A320 aircraft. The management of the Airline has let it out that it will not be asking for very experienced cabin crew, suggesting that Indian Airlines may poach crew from other private airlines in the days to come. It is alos being said that Indian Airlines is going ahead with its recruitment drive in anticipation of the central government's decision to clear fleet acquisition plans. The domestic carrier is said to have prepared a training module for pilots that it will be recruiting well before the acquisition plans get activated.

     With India having already entered into Open Skies agreements with the United States, Britain and China earlier this year, a more competitive marketplace for the airline industry has been created in the country. The availability of cheaper and more frequent flights to India is being seen as a major and convenient incentive for shuttle workers and business executives. Take for instance, travel between the U.S. and India. Prior to the signing of the Open Skies pact in April this year, airline travel between these two countries grew 86.1 per cent to 5,20,827 in 2004, from 2,79,921 passengers in 2000, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. The number of passengers flying between the two countries grew 29.6 per cent between 2003 and 2004 alone. So, airline officials of both countries are of the view that the potential for growth in this sector will be more with the agreement coming into effect. The open skies agreements removes current flight availability constraints, as more airlines are likely to establish routes both within and outside the country. Indian software development and services outsourcing companies are also expecting an improvement in productivity, and quicker response time to customer requirements as a result of the open skies policy. The U.S. is presently the largest market for Indian software development and services outsourcers. In the fiscal year to March 31, 2004, about 70 percent of the revenues of these companies came from the U.S., according to the National Association of Software and Service Companies in Delhi. After signing the aviation pacts with the US and Britain, the Indian Government is reviewing its open skies policy for the next peak season between November this year to March 2006. Every year during the peak travel season, foreign airlines are allowed unlimited flights into the country under the open sky policy, and it is but natural that domestic carriers will also stand to benefit from this. According to Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel, while the government has addressed the needs of the high density markets of the US and Britain, it will also address the requirements of the Gulf and other Asian countries in the near future, which could mean more business for Indian Airlines.
- July 22,  2005

Jet Airways begins flight to Siachen glacier base (Go To Top)

     New Delhi: The Government of India has opened strategically sensitive areas for operation by commercial airliners. Jet Airways became the first private airline to land in those areas which were earlier restricted to air force or government flights. Today, Jet Airways started its commercial flight from Delhi to Thoise, the base camp of Siachin glaciers. Maj. Gen. V K Jain, Additional Director General (Movement ) said that they would like to welcome any private airline to operate in such sensitive areas. He said," the army would like to invite private airlines by open tender methods." He said that all domestic airlines were invited to operate the charter flight to Thoise and among them Jet Airways was short listed and was asked to operate since it met all terms and conditions for this charter flight. Meanwhile, at Thoise it was festive mood to welcome the inaugural flight of Jet Airways. Bursting of crackers marked the ceremony. Subedar Nakhtar Ram, who has come back from Siachin and was heading for his home place in Barmer was very enthusistic. He said," Earlier it used to take ten to fifteen days to reach either Jammu or Srinagar.....besides this there used to be lot of harrasement .... we had to wait for clear weather...then only we would proceed for our destination.But now with this flight we are not only going to save time but even we would be able to spend more time with our families." Thoise is an Air Force airfield at the base of Siachin Glacier. Soldiers getting postings at Siachin had to first reach jammu by train and there onward the journey starts by road. The Srinagar- Leh-Siachin route is not only arduous but also takes anything from five to seven days...and that too if there are no road blockades enroute. Lt.Gen.(Retd) IK Verma , Executive Vice president of Jet Airways, said that this is a service to the nation and patriotism is the motivating factor for launching the chartered flight.
- July 15,  2005

Pak private airlines eye Indian skies (Go To Top)

    Karachi: Pakistan's private airlines are now eyeing the Indian skies for broadening their operations and expanding their flying networks. Pakistan's three private airlines, Aero Asia, Airblue and Shaheen Airways have recently presented to Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), their flight plans to India, UK and Saudi Arabia and are looking forward to them being granted permission to operate flights on the desired routes. "The airlines have submitted proposals for operating routes for Europe, Saudi Arabia and India. All the airlines are hopeful to get the permission in the near future. They have also started spadework for hiring aircraft on long-term dry lease. The feasible routes for a Pakistani airline are UK, Saudi Arabia and India. Only ethnic traffic is available for Pakistan," The News quoted a senior executive of a private airline as saying. CAA officials have said that in case the federal government did allow things to fall into place, Pakistan's flagship carrier, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) will lose its monopoly on international routes. "Things are moving very fast to deregulate the foreign air traffic and finish the monopoly of the PIA on international routes," the paper quoted a source as saying. Officials further said that if the federal government went ahead with the new policy, it would be the maiden flights for the private airlines to fly to foreign destinations, other than Dubai. The private airlines have, as now, started negotiations for alliances and code sharing with other airlines in the region to lift the traffic of 5th and 6th freedom, and are waiting for the government's policy in the matter. "Each and everything is dependent on the consistency of the policy. We are waiting for the official announcement of the policy. Main investment is in the aircraft. We could not invest in aircraft till the official announcement of the policy," the paper quoted an official as saying.
- July 15,  2005

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