New Delhi: The Aviation Sector is still reeling under pressure and is expected to incur losses of about Rs 4000 crore this fiscal. CNN-IBN caught up with Kingfisher Airlines Chairman, Vijay Mallya and began by asking whether there is a possibility of a second round of fare cuts?
Swati Khandelwal: Do you think there is need for further fare cuts?
Vijay Mallya: We have all recognised that we need to reduce fares which we have done to stimulate the demand. If demand gets stimulated then we are on the right track, if demand doesn't get stimulated then one would question why the reduction on airfares was given in the first place when everybody else is continuing to earn what they are. For instance the state goverments are not giving anything to the consumers.
Swati Khandelwal: What is your opinion on FDI in airlines?
Vijay Mallya: In prinicple, I think airlines should be allowed access to foreign capital. For instance if foreign investment is allowed in airport, then one would question why not in an airline.
Swati Khandelwal: Give us an update on your international operations.
Vijay Mallya: I have only five Airbus 330 wide-body aircraft, so my capacity is limited. I am using those predminantly on the Mumbai-London, Bangalore-London routes, both of which are doing very well. The load factor is in excess of 75 per cent contrary to popular belief. As soon as the other two airbus aircraft are ready, ready to fly and meet the quality standards that Kingfisher demands, we will deploy them to Hong Kong and Singapore - something which we have already announced. Our rollout plan is phased. We don't intend to go and acquire more wide body aircraft. On the contrary we want to improve our fleet utilisation of narrow body aircraft by flying to South East Asian and Middle East destinations.
Swati Khandelwal: What is the status on Jet-Kingfisher alliance?
Vijay Mallya: The Kingfisher-Jet alliance and understanding and cooperation is more solid than ever before. I talked to Mr Goyal on Thursday and I am meeting him on January 20 when he comes from London to Mumbai.