Paris: India's private full service provider, Kingfisher Airlines, has deferred deliveries of 32 Airbus 320 medium-haul aircraft and will receive them in a staggered fashion over the period 2010-2012. A report in UK paper Financial Times quotes UB Group owner Vijay Mallya as crediting cut-throat competition in the home markets, and also a wider industry-wide downturn, as the reason for the deferrals.
Kingfisher head Vijay Mallya told the newspaper on Monday that 32 A320 planes, scheduled for delivery in the period 2008-09, would now arrive in a staggered manner over the period 2010-12. Accordingly, it would take delivery of eight aircraft this year and the next.
Mallya cited "irrational, cut-throat" competition in the domestic market as the reason for scaling back on capacity, which also includes changing orders for 10 long-haul A340-500 aircraft to smaller A330-200s.
Toulouse-based manufacturer Airbus has not confirmed the delay apart from saying, "this year, given the change in the aviation industry, we started talking to clients to see if their original delivery schedules still suited their purposes." A spokesman confirmed there had been no cancellation of orders by Kingfisher, which operates an all-Airbus fleet.
Kingfisher is set to launch international operations on 3 September 2008. Operations kick-off with a daily service on the Bangalore-London Heathrow route. The airline has ambitious plans for expanding operations further.
Kingfisher also has five A380 super jumbo's on order, with first deliveries scheduled for delivery in 2012.
Mallya also confirmed that Kingfisher had signed a deal with Air France-KLM for maintenance and technical support for its wide-body planes. He said it would be "most logical" for his airline to join the SkyTeam Alliance group of carriers given these connections.