Feb 20, 2012

The Obituary of an Airline [50/365]

Oh Yeah!
Famous saying: 'What goes up, must come down'.
They also say how when the good times roll, the world parties with you till dawn. Slip once, and suddenly you are the fire hydrant as the world lifts its hind legs for a baptism with piss.

The ever so flamboyant liquor baron, parliamentarian, cultural/sporting enthusiast, car/woman lover and real estate magnet recently slipped. For those who just came in, here's the latest - Dr Malya's five star airline; Kingfisher Airlines, does seem to be the albatross around his cashmere draped neck.
The Airline has not made any profit since inception. Faced with piling losses, spiraling fuel costs, dwindling passengers, disgruntled employees and some acquisitions that went wrong, the airliner did the only thing it could do- Cancel flights. (Read more about the sorry state of affairs here)
Now, the downside of this is that passengers by the planeloads have been inconvenienced and left ranting online.
But of course considering how short our public memory is, we will forget all this in a few months.

While we are quick to write the king's obituary, it is time to think deeper.
What ails the domestic airline sector? With the national carrier in as big a mess as the king, it is only fair that we understand that this is not mere coincidence.

Air travel is still a luxury in India. As thrifty as we are, Indians have a multi-tiered approach towards splurging on air travel. Air travel is still something that an average Indian would only consider if all the trains and inter city buses to the destination are completely booked and if the journey is absolutely urgent and necessary.

That being said air travel is important for an economy like India's. Turbulent times don't last, the tough players do. Airliners in the West have been through the same. One of the reason why the king's troubles have hit the headlines is because many still refuse to believe how a savvy businessman like Malya could've gone so wrong. Some refuse to believe that Malya is running out of money only because his other businesses are doing great. While the man himself has admitted that all is not well for a long time, the shrewd businessman that he is I am sure he still has a few tricks up his Armani sleeve. Let's just hope this story has a happy ending.

Here's to the king and the maharaja. Bon Voyage!
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