Grounded carrier Kingfisher Airlines’ request to join the global airline alliance OneWorld has been put on hold, according to a top official of the alliance. Tom Hortan, Chairman of OneWorld and chief of American Airlines, said: “Kingfisher Airlines is no longer operational. Therefore, the airline cannot be an active participant of OneWorld any more.”
He was speaking to Business Line on the sidelines of the annual general meeting of International Air Transport Association (IATA) in Cape Town. Hortan said OneWorld does not have any immediate plans to include any other Indian carrier.
OneWorld members include American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Japan Airlines, Qantas, Malaysia Airlines and Royal Jordanian. Together, these airlines operate nearly 10,000 daily flights to more than 800 destinations across the globe.
“We have an important presence in the Indian sub-continent through member carriers such as Qatar Airways and Sri Lankan Airlines flying into India,” he said, adding that Etihad Airways is also being extended an invitation to join the alliance. Kingfisher had accumulated losses of Rs 16,024 crore as on March 31, 2013 while its operating permit has lapsed.
It was in February 2010 that Kingfisher signed a memorandum of understanding for joining OneWorld, a process which should have taken about 18 months.
After IATA suspended Kingfisher last year for failure to clear its dues, the beleaguered carrier’s entry into OneWorld was also deferred. It was slated to formally join the alliance last February.
Last year, Bruce Ashby, OneWorld’s Chief Executive Officer, had remarked that the airline industry was facing turbulent times “in India and in many other parts of the world. We have been working closely with Kingfisher over the past months and it has become increasingly clear that the airline needs more time to resolve the financial issues confronting it before it can be welcomed into Oneworld.” The alliance would set a new joining date for Kingfisher “once it is through this current period of turbulence,” he had added.
However, the latest statement by Horton indicates that it is a closed chapter for the entry of the Indian carrier into the global alliance.
Kingfisher is the third Airline from India which has been unsuccessful in its efforts to join a global airline alliance. In August 2011, Star Alliance announced that Air India’s membership to the global alliance had been put on hold. Jet Airways is also seeking a Star Alliance membership.
Bankers look to sell Dr Vijay Mallya's Kingfisher Airlines Ltd brand as NPAs dip
Stung by rising NPAs and lower profits, banks have initiated the process of searching for a buyer for the Kingfisher Airlines brand even as they start recovering some of their dues through sale of liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s assets.
SBI has valued the collateral of KFA at about R6,500 crore, excluding the brand, which falls short of their debt of around R7,000 crore. While some of the assets are being sold, SBI has started searching for a buyer for the Kingfisher brand, news agency agencies said quoting a PNB official.
It was not immediately ascertained how much the Kingfisher brand will fetch after the airline has been grounded.
Punjab National Bank is hopeful of recovering at least R60-70 crore from sale of Kingfisher Airlines’ assets, which, along with a faster loan growth and lower provisioning, may improve its bottomline in 2013-14, top officials said on Thursday.
State Bank of India, which leads the consortium of lenders, has already initiated winding-up proceedings against the beleaguered airline and recovered R800-1,000 crore.
"(Banks) have enough collateral like his house and personal assets. SBI as a consortium leader is looking into it. We are hopeful of recovering R60-70 crore," PNB executive director Rakesh Sethi told reporters.
Of the 17 banks’ total exposure of about R7,000 crore in Kingfisher, SBI's exposure was at R1,600 crore followed by PNB and IDBI Bank at R800 crore each. Banks have written off the loans as the loss-making airline failed to repay in time.
Student Pilot Robert Camp, crash-lands Piper Comanche small plane at Charlottesville Albemarle Airport
1961 Piper Comanche
a student pilot
Charlottesville Albemarle Airport.
Student pilot crash-lands small plane at Charlottesville airport
Two people escaped injury Saturday evening after the plane they were flying in, with a student pilot at the helm, crash-landed at the Charlottesville Albemarle Airport.
Airport spokesman Jason Burch said airport and Albemarle County emergency personnel were called to the scene at 4:58 p.m. for a crash involving a single-engine, general aviation airplane.
Despite an apparent malfunction of the landing gear, the blue and white 1961 Piper Comanche came to rest upright and intact, with no significant damage immediately visible from a distance.
In a news release, Virginia State Police identified the pilot as Robert Camp, a student pilot from Raleigh, N.C.
A spokeswoman with the state police said in the release that as the plane was coming in for a landing, "it made contact with the runway too hard," causing its landing gear to retract.
The plane then skidded to a stop on its “belly,” according to the release.
“Anytime you have any sort of alert at the airport, there’s a system in place, so we had several of the local stations here initially,” Burch said.
Melvin Bishop, Albemarle County assistant fire marshal, confirmed that county personnel and equipment responded, but they were released from the scene shortly after their arrival when the situation was declared under control. Albemarle police officers also responded.
“State troopers arrived, as well, and they will conduct an investigation,” Burch said at the airport Saturday. “It’s no different than a bus [crash] on the highway — they have to make sure there’s no foul play.”
The pilot and passenger were traveling from Winchester and had planned to land at the Charlottesville airport.
The incident delayed at least two departing flights, and an arriving flight was diverted to Lynchburg while officials investigated and cleared the runway.
Although the runway was reopened at 7:30 Saturday night, airport officials encouraged passengers to always check with their airline for the latest flight information.