Kingfisher maiden flight to London ’sold out’

September 2nd, 2008 - 10:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Sep 2 (IANS) India’s leading private carrier Kingfisher Airlines is making its international debut Wednesday by flying non-stop from this IT hub to London with a full load of passengers, its CEO Vijay Mallya said here Tuesday evening.“Our maiden flight to London is fully booked. All the payment seats (70 percent) have been sold out. There is an overwhelming response to our return flight late Wednesday from London to Bangalore, with over 70 percent passenger load,” Mallya told reporters on the eve of Kingfisher’s international services launch.

Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel will flag off the inaugural flight from the new Bengaluru International Airport at Devanahalli, about 40 km from the city, and accompany Mallya to London along with other dignitaries and invitees.

The flight will depart at 8.40 a.m. IST and arrive in London (Heathrow’s terminal 4) at 2.50 p.m. (local time). The return flight will take off from Heathrow at 10.05 p.m. (local time) same night and arrive in Bangalore Thursday (Sep 4) at 12.35 p.m. (IST).

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

State-run Air India and British Airways already operate a daily flight from Bangalore to London. British Airways offers one-way ticket at Rs.26,000 on the route.

Though Mallya did not disclose the exact fares for the two classes, as some tickets are flexi-priced, the fares will be Rs.1,000 more than what British Airways offers on the London-Bangalore-London route for both classes.

“There is a huge demand for international flights to and from Bangalore as India’s Silicon Valley from the world over. International traffic is growing at 15-16 percent a year from India in spite of the global slowdown and the crisis in the civil aviation sector due to soaring fuel prices and growing competition,” Mallya pointed out.

The in-flight entertainment will include live TV channels such as BBC World, CNN International, Bloomberg and EuroSport/ESPN via satellite at every seat, besides 357 hours of programming on 36 channels.

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

In the first class, guests will also enjoy in-seat massagers, a bar and bartender, a jacket pressing service and spectacles cleaning.

“We are setting new standards in international travel with the unique Kingfisher experience that has earned a five-star rating from Skytrax. Customers are our guests, not passengers, and this is reflected in the comfort and entertainment, including live television and fine dining options on board, with Indian hospitality,” Mallya said.

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

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