Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Kingfisher Airlines: The Indian Airbus A380 Operator That Never Was

Kingfisher always had a reputation for being a luxury-focused airline, but did you know the airline had ordered the Airbus A380? The airline placed an order for 10 A380s in total, hoping to become a major intercontinental airline. However, the airline never took delivery of the planes. Let’s find out the story of Kingfisher’s A380s.
Kingfisher marketed itself as being the go-to premium Indian airline. It offered inflight entertainment in every seat, hot meals to all passengers, and comfortable seating. And this was just in economy!

In domestic business class (branded as “Kingfisher First”), the airline offered a 2-2 style seating with generous pitch and recline. It even had an onboard ironing service on long flights, along with a fully-stocked bar! With the tagline of “Fly the Good Times”, Kingfisher aimed to recreate the Golden Age of flying.
With this in mind, it made sense why Kingfisher became the first Indian airline to purchase the A380. The airline wanted to remain ahead of the competition, namely Jet Airways and Air India, and saw the A380 as being the next generation of aircraft.
It should be noted that Kingfisher first ordered the plane in 2005, soon after it commenced operations and before it was allowed to fly internationally. The decision might have raised some eyebrows, although at the time it was chalked up to ambition. However, as we’ll see, Kingfisher went onto double its order, expecting huge demand on many of its routes.
Many analysts questioned the logic behind purchasing the A380. All the airlines who had bought the aircraft in 2005 were large hub airlines, which could aggregate demand for the large plane. At the same time, competitors Air India and Jet Airways were buying smaller 777s and 787s to offer more frequencies. However, it seems Kingfisher was set on being the biggest Indian airline, regardless of the economics.
23/06/20 Syd Sharma/Simple Flying
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