Kingfisher Airlines will join oneworld from February 10, making it the first Indian carrier to join a global airline alliance.
State-run Air India’s request to become a member of the Lufthansa-led Star Alliance was rejected in July, while Jet Airways is yet to announce its alliance plans, but is said to be in discussions with both Star Alliance and SkyTeam. Joining oneworld will give Kingfisher Airlines, which is reeling from a cash crunch and has grounded several of its planes, global visibility and scope to improve revenue by leveraging its schedule.
The alliance would enable it to offer better fares to destinations where it does not have direct flights. For Kingfisher frequent fliers, it’ll be an opportunity to earn and redeem miles on flights of oneworld members, including British Airways, Cathay Pacific, American Airlines and eight other airlines, and avail lounge access at international airports.
|* With Kingfisher becoming a member, a Kingfisher’s frequent flier can reedem his points in any of the member airlines network|
|* Kingfisher, which was invited to join the alliance in June 2010, gets access to various lounges of the alliance and its members|
|* Kingfisher, in turn, offers its domestic network to the alliance that was launched in 1999|
|* After joining the alliance, Kingfisher gets access to the network of 31 airlines|
|* American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Canadian Airlines and Qantas are the key members of the alliance|
Kingfisher was expecting at least a five per cent rise in revenue through code-share agreements with partner airlines, an airline official said. “There will be cost savings too through common use of inventories and joint purchases,” he said. Kingfisher had signed a code-share agreement with British Airways in September 2010.
Kapil Kaul of the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation said, “Oneworld’s continued confidence in Kingfisher is a positive news. However, the real good news will be if it (Kingfisher) is able to raise equity capital.” The airline is looking for ~600 crore short-term working debt and has mandated SBI Caps to prepare an equity requirement report.
Another analyst said, “Joining the alliance will give help in brand awareness. There will be an increased flow of passengers, as there will be more source markets, and this will help Kingfisher in better revenue management.”
“Kingfisher received the green light to board oneworld this week after successfully completing a thorough review of its readiness by British Airways, sponsoring its entry into the alliance, with the oneworld central team. For Kingfisher, joining oneworld will strengthen its competitive offering and its financial position, enabling it to offer customers an unrivalled alliance global network served by partners, including some of the best and biggest airlines in the world,” Kingfisher said in a statement.
Oneworld chief executive Bruce Ashby said: “Kingfisher Airlines will expand oneworld’s network substantially in a key region of growing travel demand, with a carrier that matches our demanding requirements.”
The alliance would also enable Kingfisher to offer its customers a truly global network on quality partners, Ashby said.