With a growth record of five to 56 flights daily within a span of seven months since its inception, Kingfisher Airlines, a UB group company, plans to go global.
Vijay Mallya, chairman of UB Group, spoke about his plans of acquiring five new A380 airbuses, opening an aviation school - Kingfisher University and his bid for Sahara Airlines. Mallya was in Pune to chair the board meeting of its IT Division, UBICS Inc.
Commenting on the huge growth in the airline sector in India, Mallaya said, "We are probably the fastest growing airline in the world." The group has already booked 34 A320 airbuses, Mallya said, "Nine of the A320's have already been inducted in our fleet, one will be coming in today and the tenth will be here in January."
Speaking on the group's intentions to introduce more local flights, he said, "Our Chennai-Bangalore-Pune-Ahemdabad leg is the most profitable route and we will be introducing more flights from Pune now. But this will only be added once the airport runway is lengthened."
He also urged that the government should allow local carriers to start international services with one year of flying experience as against the current five-year flying experience that Indian carriers require to operate inthe international skies, he disclosed. "We have booked five new A380 airbuses. With this new addition to our fleet, we will be the first Indian carriers to operate these double decker, 555 seater airplanes."
"TheAirport Authority of India has already given clearances to create hangers for parking the flights." Commenting on flying A380's in the Indian skies only, Mallya said, "We plan to go international, and this fleet will be operational there."
Asthe aviation industry witnesses a boom, there is a shortage of trained pilots. Responding to this need, the group has also started work on opening a aviation institute called Kingfisher University.
"The university will commence by end of 2006and will be located at Thane, where we had one of our breweries," said Mallya.The company had recently bid for Sahara Airlines. Clearing the controversy on whether the bid was for acquiring of Sahara Airlines, Mallya said, "Ernst and Young, who represented Sahara, had not completed the valuation of the company. The figures represent the funds required for the company. But it was not disclosed as to how much equity, Sahara would offload. We did our own evaluation and offered a price to them and
are now waiting for their response."