Kingfisher Airlines Purchases Five Airbus A340-500 Aircraft
Hanover, Germany, Monday, April 24, 2006 — Kingfisher Airlines, India's
fastest growing private carrier and the first airline in India to introduce
a premium First Class service for travelers flying on domestic routes, today
signed a deal for the purchase of five Airbus A340-500s aircraft. In
addition to the firm order for five aircraft, Kingfisher Airlines will have
options for five additional A340-500s.
All five A340-500s in the Kingfisher Airlines fleet will be powered by
Rolls-Royce Trent 500 engines, which burn up to 20 per cent less fuel than
older generation engines, whilst providing outstanding range and payload
performance. Deliveries of this ultra long-haul aircraft will commence in
2008. Given their range and configuration, these aircraft are planned to be
deployed for non-stop flights between India and the United States.
Currently, the rapidly growing travelling populations in these markets do
not have the benefit of availing a direct non-stop service.
The deal was signed by Dr. Vijay Mallya, Chairman & Managing Director,
Kingfisher Airlines Ltd. and Mr. Gustav Humbert, President and CEO, Airbus
in a ceremony attended by the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and
German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
"With the A340-500 ultra long-haul aircraft, it is our intention to open up
a completely new market. For the first time, we will be able to offer direct
non-stop services between India and the USA and our A340-500 will have a
unique configuration, giving passengers extra space and comfort on their
long haul flights" commented Dr. Vijay Mallya.
Gustav Humbert, Airbus President and CEO, said, "This purchase is further
evidence of the confidence that an increasingly successful airline such as
Kingfisher Airlines shows in our modern family of aircraft. We have built a
strong relationship with Kingfisher Airlines and we are delighted that once
again Kingfisher Airlines has chosen Airbus to help build its rapidly
Kingfisher Airlines also announced that it was currently engaged in talks
with a United States based airline to explore the possibility of entering
into a strategic partnership to enable commencement of international
operations when the A340-500 is delivered in 2008. This US based operator
would plan to fly these aircraft under Kingfisher Airlines brand from the US
to India in the event that Kingfisher Airlines does not receive approval to
fly from India to the US on delivery of the aircraft.
While Indian carriers have to complete five years of operations to be able
to fly on international routes, in stark contrast, any new foreign carrier
can set up shop anywhere in the world and fly into India, the very next day.
Regulations currently in force need to be viewed against this backdrop. To
ensure that carriers registered in India are not discriminated against by
home-grown legislation, the regulatory environment has to evolve to ensure
this anomaly is corrected rapidly.
The total value of the five A340-500s is US$ One billion.
Kingfisher Airlines is a rapidly growing force in Indian civil aviation,
already flying 8 Airbus A320s and 3 Airbus A319s on domestic routes.
Kingfisher Airlines will receive 30 more single aisle aircraft from Airbus
in the near future, and has placed firm orders for five Airbus A380s, five
Airbus A-330s and five Airbus A350s for use on long-range international and
regional services. Kingfisher's Airbus Family fleet will grow to more than