Kathmandu: India's premium service provider, Kingfisher Airlines, may launch services to Kathmandu as soon as it becomes eligible to operate international services from July-end, according to industry sources. The private carrier, which began services in May 2005, will now piggyback on the licence earned by its merged partner, Deccan Aviation, which completes five years of mandatory domestic operations this year.
According to rules, an airline has to operate for five years on domestic routes before it can become eligible to operate on international sectors. Deccan Aviation completed five years of pioneering domestic service as a low-cost carrier this year. It subsequently merged with Kingfisher.
As per reports, initial services to Kathmandu are likely from Mumbai or Bangalore via New Delhi. The rationale for this may well arise from the fact that clogged Indian airports now no longer have parking slots to allot to airlines. It is likely that Kingfisher may make use of the slots that it already holds at Bangalore and Mumbai, instead of seeking fresh ones at Delhi.
India's state-owned domestic services provider, Indian, already holds a virtual monopoly on the Kathmandu-Varanasi and Kathmandu-Kolkata sectors. On the Delhi-Kathmandu route, it is another private carrier, Jet Airways, which rules the roost, providing the maximum number of flights between Kathmandu and New Delhi.
Jet took over the operations of its merged partner, Air Sahara, on this route.