The much maligned Indian carrier Kingfisher is one step closer to shutting down. The company has had a string of issues over the past year, each calling into question the ability of the airline to survive. The latest step – India‘s government has suspended the carrier’s operating license – is the simply the most recent hurdle Kingfisher will have to overcome if it is to survive. The Indian government had previously forced the airline to stop flying and to stop taking new bookings pending the resolution of concerns over Kingfisher’s ability to provide "safe, efficient and reliable service." This move will make resumption of service just that much more difficult.
The carrier is playing down the significance of the suspension, claiming that resumption of service will happen in the near future, as soon as the issues with the government are resolved. From an official statement:
We have, in any case, always maintained that once the issues with the employees are resolved, we will first present our resumption plan to DGCA for review, before resuming operations.
The carrier would require approximately $1bn to stage a recovery at this point according to analysts. That is a huge sum to invest in a questionable market where cost pressures are tremendous and capacity is far in excess of demand, at least at fare levels which can sustain the operations. Kingfisher formally shutting down would likely be good for the Indian aviation market but a significant loss for Vijay Mallya, the Indian playboy who runs the organization today.