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Kingfisher Airlines forced to ground aircraft as costs mount

Kingfisher Airlines forced to ground aircraft as costs mount

Kingfisher Airlines has been forced to ground aircraft in its fleet as it continues to battle a severe shortage of cash.

A Kingfisher executive told reporters the airline had grounded 15 of its planes as speculation mounted the carrier was unable to meet maintenance and overhaul expenses.

An article in the Economic times revealed the airline was now operating just 40 of its 69 planes.

“We are trying to help Kingfisher,” State Bank of India chairman Pratip Choudhuri told Reuters earlier.

Kingfisher – which is controlled by drinks tycoon Vijay Mallya - has seen its share price fall 67 per cent since the start of the year, cutting its market value to about USD$202 million.

A Kingfisher spokesman declined to comment.

Kingfisher has never made a profit and has seen its market share continue to fall in recent months.

All the morning worrying for future oneworld partners, with Kingfisher expected to join the airline alliance early in 2012.

In November Kingfisher chief executive, Sanjay Aggarwal, warned of future cuts.

“The airline industry in India is going through a tough period due to high costs and lower yields.

“This is evident by the unprecedented losses recently reported.

“To counter these pressures and leveraging its strengths, Kingfisher decided to rationalise network, drop unprofitable flights and expedite its fleet reconfiguration.

“This initiative will improve the long term profitability of the airline.”