Kingfisher denies services hit by financial difficulties

Kingfisher Airlines Ltd (KAIR) has denied reports attributing financial difficulties behind curtailing of services saying recent cancellations resulted from bird hits and other disruptions.

The carrier cancelled as many as 32 flights a day from 17 February due to the disruptions, the Bangalore-based company said in an e-mailed statement last night. The carrier, with a debt of $1.3 billion was seeking more capital and said it would resume its full schedule of 240 flights within four days.

Kingfisher, whose stock fell 35.4 per cent last year, cut operations, as it sought to raise funds after a hike in jet fuel costs and with a price war pushing the airline to a wider 3Q loss. In November, the airline cut daily flights from 340 to 300 and also ended its budget services.

Meanwhile, according to the Times of India website, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation had initiated an inquiry into the recent cancellations. The report cited sources it did not name.

''With great respect to our friends in the media, it is not desirable to magnify or sensationalise any issue pertaining to Kingfisher Airlines,'' Kingfisher said in its statement on Saturday. ''The speculative queries that we are reducing our operating schedule from 240 flights a day are ill-founded.''

Kingfisher's, market share was down to fifth in December from second in October. It has grounded 12 of its existing 27 Avions de Transport Regional planes and deferred the deliveries of Airbus SAS A380 deliveries beyond 2016.