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Kingfisher Airlines shares jump on hope of recovery

Kingfisher Airlines shares jump on hope of recovery

Shares of India's cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines rose nearly seven percent in morning trade Friday, after chairman Vijay Mallya promised a full recovery plan for the carrier.

» Airlines - W | Saturday, March 17, 2012 • Air News Times
Kingfisher rose as much as 6.45 percent to a day's high of 22.25 rupees at the Bombay Stock Exchange, on hopes that the airline, hit by a cash-crunch and a pilot agitation, would be able to ride out a crisis that has brought it close to collapse.

"In a few days time, we will have a crystal clear roadmap how Kingfisher will move ahead," Indian liquor baron Mallya told reporters late Thursday.

"I hope issues will be resolved and we will come up with a firm schedule."

Kingfisher also hopes to resolve issues with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) which had suspended the airline from its global settlement system for non-payment of dues.

The flamboyant billionaire also promised a swift resolution to the pilots' unrest which, along with the IATA suspension, forced the carrier to cancel more flights on top of those it scrapped last month to reduce expenses.

He said one foreign airline and two non-airline foreign investors have shown interest in buying a stake in the carrier but did not disclose details.

India's government is considering a proposal to allow foreign airlines to buy up to 49 percent in local carriers and a decision is expected soon.

Kingfisher earlier this week announced it was curtailing its widebody overseas flights in order to lower costs.

The airline now operates around 100 flights a day -- down from its pre-crisis schedule of 175.

The carrier has never turned a profit since its launch in 2005 and owes millions of dollars to suppliers, lenders and staff.

The airline's net loss widened sharply to 4.44 billion rupees ($88 million) in the three months to December from a loss of 2.54 billion rupees a year earlier, while its debt totals at least $1.3 billion.
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