Struggling Kingfisher Airlines’ hopes of making a phased restart were dashed further after India’s government decided to withdraw the carrier’s international route authority and domestic slots and allot them to other Indian carriers.
“These traffic rights have been withdrawn with immediate effect on account of non-utilization by the airline,” says an official at India’s Civil Aviation Ministry.
State-run Airports Authority of India (AAI) on Feb. 25 was directed by the government to assign Kingfisher’s slots and foreign flying rights to other domestic operators “as per their demand,” the official adds.
In its latest announcement, AAI offers “additional availability of approximately 25,000 seats per week” to eight countries for use by other Indian carriers, according to the ministry official.
The major beneficiaries likely will be national airline Air India Ltd. and subsidiary Air India Express, and private carriers IndiGo, Jet Airways and subsidiary JetKonnect, and SpiceJet.
The traffic rights were allocated to Kingfisher between 2008 and 2011. During that period, Kingfisher operated 14 weekly flights to Bangladesh and Hong Kong; seven to Nepal, Singapore and the U.K.; 35 to Sri Lanka, and 21 to Thailand and UAE.
Private airports, such as those in Delhi and Mumbai, already have started giving slots held by Kingfisher to other airlines.
Kingfisher could not be reached for an immediate comment.
The withdrawal of traffic rights seems to be the final one in a series of moves to ensure that Kingfisher will not fly again, say aviation analysts.