Aviation woes

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Having followed two of country’s biggest aviation debacles of this decade, I have started accepting the fact that they may not last long. Of the two, Kingfisher is already in doldrums and I have already covered it many a times on my blog. And the other one is Air India.

Why Air India now? Because I was just imagining what if today’s Air India was not backed by Government? It will just exactly be another Kingfisher.

What is plaguing aviation sector in India today? Is it higher fuel costs or inefficiency? If it was the former, then how come IndiGo Airlines is in profits today after just 6 years into its operations and also be the market leader? Jet Airways had always ruled the roost in India and is on top during last two decades among Private airlines and to topple them, you need meat! And thats exactly what IndiGo did.

What makes the airline different? For starters, it only uses one type of Aircraft, the Airbus A320. This keeps its cost in check and second, has outsourced its aircraft maintenance operations to SriLankan Engineering, a subsidiary of SriLankan Airlines. This is due to excessive taxations imposed on local MRO providers. Then it sticks to its low cost model and really does not experiment out of its core operations or have a business class on its planes. Except for its IndiGo plus services which offer on board meal and predefined seating at a small fee. While keeping the costs low, it has a very strong emphasis on on-time performance which makes it really likable for a frequent traveller. And hardly comments have come my way about rude IndiGo staff or unsatisfactory services as compared to other airlines, including Jet.

What surprises me even more is the fact that Indigo is rapidly expanding its fleet at the same time and is currently adding a new A320 every 6 weeks!

Now think about this with Air India and Kingfisher, both Airlines currently in doldrums while former is walking on a blanket of tax payer’s money. Air India has both Airbus and Boeing Fleet for its operations and Kingfisher is operating Airbus and ATRs, with a Boeing 727 exclusively used for UB Group. The maintenance costs for multi-make aircrafts goes significantly up as the airline has to hire specialists for a type of air craft or invest in months of training for its engineers. Air India has multi-make Aircrafts for political reasons too. India has been promoting foreign investment in India by the manufacturer in exchange of confirm orders for Airbus or Boeing.

I am reiterating my earlier post about Air India and its treatment of employees, its Internal customers. And Kingfisher is just following suit. Strikes, delay in payments. I wish to see the aviation sector continue to grow. And I will read these very words back again.

Feature Picture: Stock.Exchange

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