Kingfisher Airlines’ bid to join the Oneworld alliance has been put on hold while the carrier works to get its financial house in order. The Indian airline and the alliance agreed Friday that admission should be tabled for now. No new date for possible admission was given.
Kingfisher was planning to join the alliance on Feb. 10, but the carrier’s financial condition has deteriorated in the past several months. Chairman Vijay Mallya said, “In light of the many priorities centered around Kingfisher Airlines’ recapitalization efforts, we felt it prudent to defer our entry into the alliance for a little while. This will allow us the opportunity to focus on the issues at hand.”
However, the airline still intends to join the group. Mallya says this will happen “very shortly,” although industry sources say that a sound fiscal recovery is likely to be a long process, if it succeeds at all.
“It has become increasingly clear recently that the airline needs more time to resolve the financial issues it is confronting before it can be welcomed into Oneworld,” said Bruce Ashby, the group’s CEO. He hinted that a new date for admission will be set only when Kingfisher “is through this current period of turbulence.”
Oneworld has had an abysmal week given that one of its European members, Malev Hungarian Airlines, was grounded on Friday, most likely permanently. Malev is the second Oneworld member to fold after Mexicana, which stopped flying in August 2010. But Oneworld is not alone.member Spanair stopped flying Jan. 24, making the only alliance that has not lost a member this year.
Star also has run into problems trying to recruit an Indian member. The group officially put on hold the entry oflast year, after the state-owned carrier failed to meet several deadlines for minimum joining requirements. At the time, Star said talks could resume at a later date. But SkyTeam CEO Michael Wisbrun told Aviation Week in a recent interview that it was too early now to select an Indian member and that the industry should sort itself out before another attempt is made.
The third Indian airline with potential alliance ambitions is.