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Kingfisher Airlines has grounded 15 planes

Sanjay Aggarwal, Chief Executive Officer, Kingfisher Airlines talking to newsman on an earlier occasion

Beleaguered Kingfisher Airlines has grounded 15 planes in its fleet as it battles a prolonged cash crunch, a company executive said, as banks continue efforts to prop up the airline, which until recently was India’s second-largest.

A Kingfisher executive, who declined to be identified, said the airline had grounded 15 of its planes but did not say how long they had been grounded or why.
The executive was speaking after an Indian newspaper reported that Kingfisher had grounded some of its Airbus planes after it was unable to meet maintenance and overhaul expenses.
Kingfisher, controlled by flamboyant liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya, has been seeking additional working capital from its lenders.
Chairman of State Bank of India, which heads the consortium of Kingfisher’s lenders, said banks are trying to help. “We are trying to help Kingfisher,” State Bank of India Chairman Pratip said.
Asked if banks were open to lending more funds to the cash-starved airline, he said, “everything is on the table”.
All but one of India’s six main airlines is loss-making, as carriers engage in aggressive price competition even as they are squeezed by the high cost of jet fuel and other expenses.
India’s aviation regulator is conducting a financial review of Kingfisher, a process that is ongoing, an official with the regulator said, declining to be identified.
Kingfisher’s active fleet has shrunken to 40 from 69 at the end of 2010, said report in an Indian newspaper. A Kingfisher spokesman declined to comment.
An official source at Mumbai’s airport said that Kingfisher had grounded two aircraft there in recent weeks due to a lack of spare parts, but there were no new flight cancellations.
Kingfisher, which has never made a profit, has seen its market share shrink to third-place after it slashed flights beginning last month. Over 100 of its pilots have quit recently and suppliers, including airports and oil companies, have stopped extending credit to the airline.
Another report adds: Sanjay Aggarwal, Chief Executive Officer, Kingfisher Airlines, is believed to have put in his papers. A final decision on Aggarwal will only be known after the airline board approves the move. He joined Kingfisher in September last year.
An airline spokesperson however denied that Aggarwal had put in his papers. “These are rumours which have been floating for some time now,” he said. Text messages sent to Aggarwal seeking his comment remained unanswered.
Sources indicated that rumours about Aggarwal leaving Kingfisher Airlines have been around for some time now.
In the recent past, airline staff have had meeting with a Senior Vice-President, Hitesh Patel, to air their grievances and seek answers to when their dues would be cleared.
Aggarwal is believed to not have been involved in key negotiations the airline has been engaged in.
The airline, which has accumulated debt of over Rs 7,200 crore, saw losses more than double to Rs 469 crore in the quarter ended September this year. During 2010-11, Kingfisher had incurred a loss of Rs 1,027 crore. 
—Agencies

Comment

Sanjay Aggarwal, Chief Executive Officer, Kingfisher Airlines talking to newsman on an earlier occasion

Beleaguered Kingfisher Airlines has grounded 15 planes in its fleet as it battles a prolonged cash crunch, a company executive said, as banks continue efforts to prop up the airline, which until recently was India’s second-largest.

A Kingfisher executive, who declined to be identified, said the airline had grounded 15 of its planes but did not say how long they had been grounded or why.
The executive was speaking after an Indian newspaper reported that Kingfisher had grounded some of its Airbus planes after it was unable to meet maintenance and overhaul expenses.
Kingfisher, controlled by flamboyant liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya, has been seeking additional working capital from its lenders.
Chairman of State Bank of India, which heads the consortium of Kingfisher’s lenders, said banks are trying to help. “We are trying to help Kingfisher,” State Bank of India Chairman Pratip said.
Asked if banks were open to lending more funds to the cash-starved airline, he said, “everything is on the table”.
All but one of India’s six main airlines is loss-making, as carriers engage in aggressive price competition even as they are squeezed by the high cost of jet fuel and other expenses.
India’s aviation regulator is conducting a financial review of Kingfisher, a process that is ongoing, an official with the regulator said, declining to be identified.
Kingfisher’s active fleet has shrunken to 40 from 69 at the end of 2010, said report in an Indian newspaper. A Kingfisher spokesman declined to comment.
An official source at Mumbai’s airport said that Kingfisher had grounded two aircraft there in recent weeks due to a lack of spare parts, but there were no new flight cancellations.
Kingfisher, which has never made a profit, has seen its market share shrink to third-place after it slashed flights beginning last month. Over 100 of its pilots have quit recently and suppliers, including airports and oil companies, have stopped extending credit to the airline.
Another report adds: Sanjay Aggarwal, Chief Executive Officer, Kingfisher Airlines, is believed to have put in his papers. A final decision on Aggarwal will only be known after the airline board approves the move. He joined Kingfisher in September last year.
An airline spokesperson however denied that Aggarwal had put in his papers. “These are rumours which have been floating for some time now,” he said. Text messages sent to Aggarwal seeking his comment remained unanswered.
Sources indicated that rumours about Aggarwal leaving Kingfisher Airlines have been around for some time now.
In the recent past, airline staff have had meeting with a Senior Vice-President, Hitesh Patel, to air their grievances and seek answers to when their dues would be cleared.
Aggarwal is believed to not have been involved in key negotiations the airline has been engaged in.
The airline, which has accumulated debt of over Rs 7,200 crore, saw losses more than double to Rs 469 crore in the quarter ended September this year. During 2010-11, Kingfisher had incurred a loss of Rs 1,027 crore. 
—Agencies

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Etihad to become biggest shareholder in Air Berlin

Air Berlin stewardess

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways is to become the biggest shareholder in troubled Air Berlin PLC, taking a stake of nearly 30 per cent, Germany’s second-biggest airline and the fast-growing Gulf carrier announced.

Etihad currently holds 2.99 per cent of Air Berlin, and said the stake would grow to 29.21 per cent via an issue of new shares.
Etihad is to get two seats on Air Berlin’s board of directors, and also is pledging to provide up to US$255 million over the next five years to support fleet development and future network growth.
The announcement comes as Air Berlin, Germany’s No. 2 airline after Deutsche Lufthansa AG, pushes through an efficiency drive following losses that it has blamed on high fuel prices, a new German aviation tax and sagging demand for travel to northern Africa.
Air Berlin said earlier this year that it plans to chop some routes and cut 18 aircraft from its fleet of 170 by next summer. Founder Joachim Hunold stepped down as CEO and handed over to Hartmut Mehdorn, a former chief executive of Germany’s national railway.
“The strategic partnership with Etihad Airways opens up enormous opportunities for the future of our company,” Mehdorn said. “This applies especially to future market development and the realisation of synergies.”
The two airlines plan “extensive” code-sharing agreements and to connect their frequent flyer programs.
“This new partnership expands our network reach, gives us access to 33 million new passengers, and provides us with a real opportunity for global growth,” Etihad CEO James Hogan said.
“Through Air Berlin, we gain immediate access to a broad and complementary European market,” he said, adding that the airlines estimate they can each increase revenues by between €35 million and €40 million (US$46 million and US$52 million) in the first year of the deal alone.
Air Berlin’s main hubs are in Berlin — where a new airport is to open next year — Duesseldorf, Palma de Mallorca and Vienna.
As part of the deal with Etihad, the German airline will start operating four flights a week between the German capital and Abu Dhabi in January. It also plans to shift its Middle East operations to Abu Dhabi from the nearby Emirati city of Dubai.
Air Berlin shares soared on the news, rising 8.2 per cent to €2.50 in Frankfurt trading.
Etihad is bankrolled by the oil-rich government of Abu Dhabi, the capital and largest of the United Arab Emirates. It has not yet posted a profit, but expects to break even for the first time this year. It began operations in 2003.
Etihad is younger and far smaller than Emirates, the Middle East’s biggest carrier, which is based in Dubai.
The two carriers and another state-backed Gulf carrier, Qatar Airways, are increasingly challenging established European and Asian carriers by routing lucrative long-haul flights through the Gulf.
Etihad last week placed an order with Boeing Co. for 10 more of the manufacturer’s new B787-9 planes, making it the largest airline customer for that version of the jet, with 41 orders on the books.
—Agencies

Comment

Air Berlin stewardess

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways is to become the biggest shareholder in troubled Air Berlin PLC, taking a stake of nearly 30 per cent, Germany’s second-biggest airline and the fast-growing Gulf carrier announced.

Etihad currently holds 2.99 per cent of Air Berlin, and said the stake would grow to 29.21 per cent via an issue of new shares.
Etihad is to get two seats on Air Berlin’s board of directors, and also is pledging to provide up to US$255 million over the next five years to support fleet development and future network growth.
The announcement comes as Air Berlin, Germany’s No. 2 airline after Deutsche Lufthansa AG, pushes through an efficiency drive following losses that it has blamed on high fuel prices, a new German aviation tax and sagging demand for travel to northern Africa.
Air Berlin said earlier this year that it plans to chop some routes and cut 18 aircraft from its fleet of 170 by next summer. Founder Joachim Hunold stepped down as CEO and handed over to Hartmut Mehdorn, a former chief executive of Germany’s national railway.
“The strategic partnership with Etihad Airways opens up enormous opportunities for the future of our company,” Mehdorn said. “This applies especially to future market development and the realisation of synergies.”
The two airlines plan “extensive” code-sharing agreements and to connect their frequent flyer programs.
“This new partnership expands our network reach, gives us access to 33 million new passengers, and provides us with a real opportunity for global growth,” Etihad CEO James Hogan said.
“Through Air Berlin, we gain immediate access to a broad and complementary European market,” he said, adding that the airlines estimate they can each increase revenues by between €35 million and €40 million (US$46 million and US$52 million) in the first year of the deal alone.
Air Berlin’s main hubs are in Berlin — where a new airport is to open next year — Duesseldorf, Palma de Mallorca and Vienna.
As part of the deal with Etihad, the German airline will start operating four flights a week between the German capital and Abu Dhabi in January. It also plans to shift its Middle East operations to Abu Dhabi from the nearby Emirati city of Dubai.
Air Berlin shares soared on the news, rising 8.2 per cent to €2.50 in Frankfurt trading.
Etihad is bankrolled by the oil-rich government of Abu Dhabi, the capital and largest of the United Arab Emirates. It has not yet posted a profit, but expects to break even for the first time this year. It began operations in 2003.
Etihad is younger and far smaller than Emirates, the Middle East’s biggest carrier, which is based in Dubai.
The two carriers and another state-backed Gulf carrier, Qatar Airways, are increasingly challenging established European and Asian carriers by routing lucrative long-haul flights through the Gulf.
Etihad last week placed an order with Boeing Co. for 10 more of the manufacturer’s new B787-9 planes, making it the largest airline customer for that version of the jet, with 41 orders on the books.
—Agencies

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BCA honours UK’s ‘curry elite’

Holiday Report

 
United Kingdom’s finest curry houses were honoured at the Bangladesh Caterers Association Awards in London.
Hosted by Tasmin Lucia Khan, of ITV’s Daybreak, the awards celebrated the ‘curry elite’ of the UK.
A thousand guests including dignitaries, celebrities, and politicians, were present at the night which was filled with a powerful sense of entrepreneurship.
This year’s awards saw the introduction of the BCA Chef of the Year, in recognition of the heavy burden that had been placed on the curry industry and the demands for the accreditation of chefs.
Top honours went to Ipswich’s Maharani Indian Cuisine and owner Talukdar Abdul Khalique.
Bajloor Rashid, The President of Bangladesh Caterers Association who is passionate about both passing on his expertise to a new generation and raising the profile of the UK curry industry.
He said, ‘We are a community built on the curry industry, with the blood, sweat and tears of manual workers, each of whom were proud to do what they did.’
‘Perhaps as a nation we need to give our kitchen staff the recognition they deserve and improve the perception and social standing of manual workers.’
Chief guest of the night, Eric Pickles MP, Secretary of State Communities and Local Government, spoke about the successes of the British curry industry.
He said, ‘Curry may not have been born in Britain, but it’s found a home here.
‘With over 12,000 establishments turning over 4.3 billion each year it’s not difficult to see that British curry is a great success story.’
‘This government wants to support the industry’s growth and development. I’m delighted to join you as you put the spotlight on the best of the best.’
‘I congratulate the Bangladeshi Caterers Association on speaking up for you industry for fifty one years, and wish you continued success in the years to come,’ he said. 

Comment

Holiday Report

 
United Kingdom’s finest curry houses were honoured at the Bangladesh Caterers Association Awards in London.
Hosted by Tasmin Lucia Khan, of ITV’s Daybreak, the awards celebrated the ‘curry elite’ of the UK.
A thousand guests including dignitaries, celebrities, and politicians, were present at the night which was filled with a powerful sense of entrepreneurship.
This year’s awards saw the introduction of the BCA Chef of the Year, in recognition of the heavy burden that had been placed on the curry industry and the demands for the accreditation of chefs.
Top honours went to Ipswich’s Maharani Indian Cuisine and owner Talukdar Abdul Khalique.
Bajloor Rashid, The President of Bangladesh Caterers Association who is passionate about both passing on his expertise to a new generation and raising the profile of the UK curry industry.
He said, ‘We are a community built on the curry industry, with the blood, sweat and tears of manual workers, each of whom were proud to do what they did.’
‘Perhaps as a nation we need to give our kitchen staff the recognition they deserve and improve the perception and social standing of manual workers.’
Chief guest of the night, Eric Pickles MP, Secretary of State Communities and Local Government, spoke about the successes of the British curry industry.
He said, ‘Curry may not have been born in Britain, but it’s found a home here.
‘With over 12,000 establishments turning over 4.3 billion each year it’s not difficult to see that British curry is a great success story.’
‘This government wants to support the industry’s growth and development. I’m delighted to join you as you put the spotlight on the best of the best.’
‘I congratulate the Bangladeshi Caterers Association on speaking up for you industry for fifty one years, and wish you continued success in the years to come,’ he said. 

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Malaysia Airlines set to axe some Dubai, Saudi flights

Malaysia Airlines has said it will axe a number of flights to the Middle East as part of a significant route rationalisation exercise. The move aims to stem its losses anticipated this year and in 2012, the carrier said in a statement.

The changes take effect early next year and involve the withdrawal from the following loss-making routes:
From January 10, the airline’s thrice-weekly Kuala Lumpur – Dubai A330 route will be stopped followed by the twice-weekly Kuala Lumpur – Karachi – Dubai route two days later.
From January 13, the twice-weekly Kuala Lumpur – Dubai – Dammam A330 route will be axed, the airline added.
Malaysia Airlines’ Group CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said, “The withdrawal was based on our own independent internal profitability and yield analysis.
“This accounts for almost 12 percent of our passenger capacity and we estimate that the ongoing route rationalisation will improve loads, increase yields and have a profit impact of RM220-302m (US$69-94.7m) for 2012.” “The above route rationalisation is expected to have minimal impact on Malaysia’s position as a top tourist destination in Asia as we will work aggressively with our code share partners.”
Malaysia Airlines said it regrets any inconvenience to passengers as a result of these changes.
It added that the impact of the rationalisation on Malaysia Airlines’ cargo operations is expected to be minimal.
Malaysia Airlines said it will focus on the core ASEAN region, South Asia, Greater China and North Asia where the demand outlook is strong, “fuelled by a burgeoning middle class and increased global and intra-regional trade”.
—Agencies

Comment

Malaysia Airlines has said it will axe a number of flights to the Middle East as part of a significant route rationalisation exercise. The move aims to stem its losses anticipated this year and in 2012, the carrier said in a statement.

The changes take effect early next year and involve the withdrawal from the following loss-making routes:
From January 10, the airline’s thrice-weekly Kuala Lumpur – Dubai A330 route will be stopped followed by the twice-weekly Kuala Lumpur – Karachi – Dubai route two days later.
From January 13, the twice-weekly Kuala Lumpur – Dubai – Dammam A330 route will be axed, the airline added.
Malaysia Airlines’ Group CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said, “The withdrawal was based on our own independent internal profitability and yield analysis.
“This accounts for almost 12 percent of our passenger capacity and we estimate that the ongoing route rationalisation will improve loads, increase yields and have a profit impact of RM220-302m (US$69-94.7m) for 2012.” “The above route rationalisation is expected to have minimal impact on Malaysia’s position as a top tourist destination in Asia as we will work aggressively with our code share partners.”
Malaysia Airlines said it regrets any inconvenience to passengers as a result of these changes.
It added that the impact of the rationalisation on Malaysia Airlines’ cargo operations is expected to be minimal.
Malaysia Airlines said it will focus on the core ASEAN region, South Asia, Greater China and North Asia where the demand outlook is strong, “fuelled by a burgeoning middle class and increased global and intra-regional trade”.
—Agencies

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Tiger Airways to fly Sin-Dhaka from March

Holiday Report

Singapore’s low-cost carrier Tiger Airways will start direct service between Singapore and Dhaka in Bangladesh. The inaugural flight will take off on 9 March 2012.

It’ll be the first regional low-cost carrier to fly from Singapore to Bangladesh’s capital city. The carrier found that Dhaka, the largest city in Bangladesh, has grown to become an important political and economic centre in South Asia. 

“Dhaka is our first destination in Bangladesh, and the introduction of this service provides great opportunities to increase both business and consumer travel between Dhaka and Singapore,” said Mr Stewart Adams, managing director of Tiger Airways Singapore.
“Tiger Airways is committed to providing great value airfares to both Singapore residents planning to visit family and friends, as well as visitors keen to explore Dhaka’s historical monuments, shop for traditional handicrafts and feast on some delicious Bangladeshi cuisine.”
Tickets to Dhaka are available at special promotional fares from S$100 one-way (Singapore to Dhaka), all-inclusive, for travel from 9 March to 31 October 2012. 
There’ll be four flights a week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

Comment

Holiday Report

Singapore’s low-cost carrier Tiger Airways will start direct service between Singapore and Dhaka in Bangladesh. The inaugural flight will take off on 9 March 2012.

It’ll be the first regional low-cost carrier to fly from Singapore to Bangladesh’s capital city. The carrier found that Dhaka, the largest city in Bangladesh, has grown to become an important political and economic centre in South Asia. 

“Dhaka is our first destination in Bangladesh, and the introduction of this service provides great opportunities to increase both business and consumer travel between Dhaka and Singapore,” said Mr Stewart Adams, managing director of Tiger Airways Singapore.
“Tiger Airways is committed to providing great value airfares to both Singapore residents planning to visit family and friends, as well as visitors keen to explore Dhaka’s historical monuments, shop for traditional handicrafts and feast on some delicious Bangladeshi cuisine.”
Tickets to Dhaka are available at special promotional fares from S$100 one-way (Singapore to Dhaka), all-inclusive, for travel from 9 March to 31 October 2012. 
There’ll be four flights a week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

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