The alliance between Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines will take six months to be fully operational, according to Kingfisher chairman Vijay Mallya. The two carriers have been co- operating "very closely in many ways" but it is not simple to put into operation the agreement signed by them last October, Mallya said.
Mallya and Jet owner Naresh Goyal are slated to meet on Tuesday and take the alliance forward. Both airlines have denied any rift in their four-month-old partnership. "Just because we don't announce everything does not mean the deal is not working. It takes time to work things out but I have spoken to Goyal and both of us have reaffirmed the partnership," Mallya said on Friday on the sidelines of a seminar organised by the Aeronautical Society of India.
Jet Airways chief executive officer Wolfgang Prock-Schauer said: "The cost saving initiatives and synergy of the partnership will show in coming quarters." The airlines are working on synergising their flight schedules so that code sharing can be part of the alliance.
"One project is taken at a time. If you decide that frequencies on a particular route operated by either Kingfisher or Jet are going to be changed, it is not as simple as making a phone call to the planning department and saying stop the flight," Mallya told reporters.
The reluctance of financial institutions to lend to cash-starved airlines has led to a demand that airlines be granted infrastructure status. Mallya said he has requested the aviation ministry to ask the finance minister to grant the infrastructure status to improve airlines' credit rating and facilitate funding from both public and private sector banks.
"Airlines are a vital part of infrastructure as they fly tonnes of equipment and passengers across India. Granting of infrastructure status will make an enormous difference in our credit rating and financial arrangements," Mallya said.
Prock-Scaheur affirmed this, saying: "We need easier access to capital. Indian airlines have accumulated about $2.5 billion in losses in past two fiscals and the industry needs relief in form of lower input costs, taxes and easier access to funds."