Kingfisher flies to London from Bangalore Sep 3 (Lead)

August 22nd, 2008 - 10:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Aug 22 (IANS) Kingfisher Airlines will make its international debut with a direct flight from Bangalore to London Sep 3, the private carrier, owned by ‘king of good times’ Vijay Mallya, said Friday. The maiden flight will depart from Bangalore at 8.40 a.m. and arrive in London (Heathrow terminal 4) at 2.50 p.m. (local time). The return flight will take off from Heathrow at 10.05 p.m. (local time) the same day and arrive in Bangalore the following day, Kingfisher said in a statement.

The airline will operate a new Airbus A330-200 for its non-stop daily service. It will have 217 seats, including 30 in first class and 187 in the premium class.

“We have started offering tickets for the new route. The fares are flexi and keep changing,” a company official said, declining to specify the minimum fare.

British Airways, which already operates a daily flight on Bangalore-London route, offers a one-way ticket at Rs.26,000.

Along with cuisine by London’s Chutney Mary’s restaurant, passengers can avail mood lighting, web chat and e-mail, USB connectors and in-seat plug/chargers at every seat.

The first class will have additional facilities.

“We will set new standards in international travel with the unique Kingfisher experience that has earned a five-star rating from Skytrax,” Mallya said in the statement.

At a time when many airlines are rolling back services due to soaring aviation turbine fuel costs and intense competition, Mallya plans to operate on routes that have growth potential.

“International traffic demand in and out of India remains robust… I believe the Bangalore-London route is underserved, and the launch of a daily non-stop service by Kingfisher will exploit the latent potential,” Mallya said.

Kingfisher Airlines, which began domestic operations in May 2005, secured rights to fly overseas by merging with the budget carrier Air Deccan. The latter met the mandatory five-year operational service requirement to go international.

Early this week, Deccan Aviation Ltd, which operates Air Deccan, received permission to launch international flights.

“Traffic rights of seven services per week have been granted between Bangalore and London to Air Deccan utilising an Airbus A-330 aircraft,” the civil aviation ministry said in its order late Tuesday.

Presently, only state-run Air India and full-service airline Jet Airways fly overseas.

Mallya’s UB group unit United Breweries (Holdings) Ltd, which holds about 50 percent stake in Deccan, is in the process of merging Kingfisher Airlines with Deccan Aviation.

As part of the merger process, the UB group plans to rename Deccan Aviation as Kingfisher Airlines Ltd by next month.

The Karnataka High Court approved the merger of the two airline firms in June. Deccan and Kingfisher are both based in Bangalore. Court approval is mandatory for any mergers under local regulations.

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