Kingfisher scrip hits new low on viability fears

Mumbai : The scrip of the Vijay Mallya-led Kingfisher Airlines in Indian stock markets Friday plummeted to a new low on concerns about the airline’s viability even as it continued to cap the number of flights it operates daily.

At the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), the Kingfisher Airline stock fell over 19 percent in early trade to a new low of Rs.17.55. It later managed to crawl up but was still ruling with a 12.44 percent loss at Rs.19 in noon trade.

The carrier continued to curtail 32 of its daily flights for the fourth consecutive day, as it has been hit by technical and labour issues.

The airline defended the move to reduce the number of flights saying it was done in order to rationalise the route plan and improve yields.

“We decide to reduce (flights) on some routes to rationalise our flight plans and to reconfigure our aircraft, as we thought it was the right time to do so. UB group has continued to support us, so there is no question about the future or the viability of the airline,” Sanjay Aggarwal, chief executive Kingfisher Airlines, told a news channel.

Around 100 pilots have quit the airline recently but Aggarwal said such attrition levels were normal for the aviation business.

“…100 pilots have quit over the several months. There is a natural attrition which happens in any airline.”

The cash-strapped airline had in September shut down its low cost carrier arm Kingfisher Red as part of a series of restructuring activities, which included reducing business class seats and increasing the number of economy seats aimed at increasing capacity by around 10 percent.

The aviation business in India has been under strain with most of the carriers posting losses owing to higher operating costs and lower yields.

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