Kingfisher Airlines - The 'Funliner' Experience

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG131
Case Length : 14 Pages
Period : 2005 - 2006
Organization : - Kingfisher Airlines
Pub Date : 2006
Teaching Note :Not Available
Countries : India
Industry : Aviation

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.
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"It was my maiden Kingfisher flight and I was already beginning to get an inkling of his (Vijay Mallya's) flamboyant personality. The 'wow' level of customer satisfaction provided by an Indian run airline was commendable." 1

- A Guest who Traveled by Kingfisher Airlines, in 2006

"Aside from the fascinating description of their aircraft fleet as 'Funliners', Kingfisher Airlines has developed and implemented a new and higher level of customer service across much of the Indian subcontinent."

- Peter Miller, Director Marketing, Skytrax, in 2006

Flying the Good Times

On April 25, 2005, Kingfisher Airlines (KFA), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the United Breweries Holding Limited, the investments holding company of the UB Group (Refer to Exhibit I for a brief note on the UB Group), took delivery of its first aircraft - an A320 from Airbus - at a special ceremony in Toulouse, France.

It was the first time that an Indian private airline had bought a brand new aircraft for commencing its commercial operations. KFA, which started its operations in India on May 7, 2005, positioned itself as a budget carrier and not as a low cost carrier (LCC). Vijay Mallya (Mallya), Chairman and Managing Director of the UB Group, said "Kingfisher Airlines will have a 'Fly the Good Times' approach and this will reflect in the experience we will offer to passengers. With costs lower than economy class travel on full service airlines and marginally more than the 'bus services' type low cost competition, Kingfisher Airlines offers a far better value proposition.

The aircraft and service will reflect the Kingfisher lifestyle imagery and credibility that has been built over the years." As of December 2005, KFA had a fleet of nine aircraft (seven A320s and two A319s) and operated on 56 routes. KFA also managed to corner a six percent market share within the first six months of its launch. As of January 2006, KFA had a 7.6% market share of the domestic air travel market (Refer to Exhibit II for the market shares of major airlines in India).

In December 2005, KFA won the 'Best New Airline of the Year 2005' award in the Asia Pacific and Middle East region from the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA). On receiving this award, Mallya said, "Kingfisher Airlines has grown at a scorching pace and we intend to continue to delight and pamper our guests and offer them unparalleled levels of service, comfort, and convenience to ensure that they keep flying the good times!" Later, in January 2006, KFA was voted as the third most successful brand launch of 2005 in the Business Standard annual Brand Derby. In February 2006, Skytrax gave KFA the 2006 award for 'Service Excellence for a New Airline'.

At this awards function, Mallya said, "This award means a lot to us because it expresses the opinion of travelers across the board and because Skytrax surveys are so highly regarded within the travel industry. This survey is not just a vote about the product facilities offered, but combines customers' very clear perceptions about our service standards." However, the competition in the Indian skies was hotting up...

Kingfisher Airlines - The 'Funliner' Experience - Next Page >>

1], January 10, 2006.

2] "Kingfisher Airlines bags yet another global award - wins the 2006 Skytrax Award for Service Excellence for a New Airline," Business Wire News Release, February 21, 2006.

3] Skytrax is a leading research organization in the aviation sector. It was established in 1989 and is based in London, UK. Skytrax advises airlines, conducts customer satisfaction studies, and airline/airport quality surveys.

4] Rituparna Chatterjee, "High flyer- brand launch most successful,", January 17, 2006.

5] The Airbus A320 is a short to medium range commercial passenger aircraft manufactured by Airbus. It was the first airliner with a digital fly-by-wire flight control system wherein control inputs from the pilot are transmitted to the flying surfaces by electronic rather than mechanical means.

6] Airbus is one of the world's leading aircraft manufacturers and recorded revenues of Euro 22.3 billion in 2005. The company manufactures 12 aircraft models which also includes the 555-seat A380. The A380 will be the largest civil airliner ever when it enters service at the end of 2006.

7] "Kingfisher Air to have models as air hostesses,", July 29, 2004.


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