New Delhi: Playing down the Mumbai Airport decision asking Kingfisher Airlines to operate under cash-and-carry mode from Saturday, promoter Vijay Mallya on Friday said there was nothing "big" about it and the airline would fly full schedule.

As per the MIAL's decision, Kingfisher Airlines will have to pay Rs 60 lakh daily for operating flights, if it fails to clear about Rs 90-crore of dues by December 3.

"Everybody has different credit terms for customers. Passengers in this country have to first pay for tickets before they travel. That's also cash and carry. When we advertise on newspaper or channel we also have to pay, that's also cash and carry".

"I don't understand what's this big thing about cash and carry. If we have pay on weekly or daily basis, people pay. And  Flights will operate...we will operate the full schedule," Mallya told reporters here.

 The development comes amid reports that even the state-run Airport Authority of India has threatened to put the airline -- which is sitting on a debt estimated at around Rs 12,000 crore -- on cash-and-carry mode.

The airline owes Rs 240 crore to the national airports operator.

Airlines usually pay monthly charges to the airport operators. But under the cash-n-carry mode, Kingfisher, which operates maximum flights from Mumbai and Delhi, will have to make daily payments. Kingfisher is struggling to meet its working capital needs, and has sought relief from lenders. It owes close to Rs 7,060 crore to 14 banks, and they are currently assessing the viability of the airline.

Kingfisher reported a net loss of Rs 469 crore for the September quarter, though there was a 10.2 percent rise in revenues at Rs 1,528 crore.

The loss was on account of massive spike in aviation fuel prices, and inability to hike fares due to competition.

According to industry experts, the airlines are currently selling tickets at Rs 900 discount per seat.

Despite woes, Kingfisher remains favourite airline   


In spite of the mounting troubles and the recent flight cancellations, Kingfisher continues to remain the favourite airline in the country, an honour which it shares with Jet Airways this year, according to an annual airline and air travel survey released.

While Vijay Mallya-promoted Kingfisher is the best airline for in-flight entertainment, food/beverages, in-flight service, in-flight maintenance (cabin lighting, cleanliness, seat comfort, leg room), Naresh Goyal-headed Jet leads in ground handling and landing/take-off quality, it said.

India's largest low-cost carrier IndiGo comes next at No 2, said the survey by travel advisory portal TripAdvisor.

Kingfisher had topped the 2010 edition of the survey. However, TripAdvisor did not specify when the survey was conducted, and hence it is not clear if it was done before October when the troubles escalated for Kingfisher, leading to massive flight cancellations.

"The survey rings in some good news for the woes- ridden Kingfisher Airlines. Despite recent turbulent times, consumers have given a clear thumbs up to the airline as a favourite carrier which is topping most service and experience parameters" TripAdvisor India Country Manager Nikhil Ganju told reporters here releasing the India Airline Survey 2011.

National carrier Air India, which is also facing tough time, is the least favoured airline for the second year in a row, the survey said.

IndiGo continues to be the best carrier for 'on time performance' and 'value for money' for the second year in row. For 'on time performance', IndiGo beat its own scores with a 15 percent increase in its ratings from last year, it said.

"Despite the current economic environment and challenges faced by the airline industry, India has witnessed robust passenger growth in the past year and it seems that it is heavy fliers which are contributing significantly to this growth," Ganju said.

Among the global carriers, the Emirates topped the charts, voted as best international airline by 22.15 percent respondents followed closely by Singapore Airlines 21.13 per cent and Lufthansa 8.94 percent.

The survey also pointed out that with airfares showing upward trend consistently, travellers are keeping their hand tightly wrapped around their wallet.

When asked about their preference between budget and full service airlines, 64 percent respondents claimed they would go with whichever airline offered the lowest fare for their leisure travel.

The preference for low-cost seeking is obviously lower (48 percent) for business travel, the survey said.

Nearly 72 percent respondents said they would plan a last minute trip if they get a great deal on flight tickets. Confirming the mass outbreak of addiction to mail and mobile, 68 percent respondents said they would pay extra for wi-fi connectivity on a plane and 35 percent were willing to dish out extra bucks for being able to use their cellphones on a flight.

In-flight etiquette manual suggested that rude seat reclining (44.67%) and loud mobile phone conversations (44.50%) topped the list of behaviour people find most annoying among co-passengers on-board.

Indians seem to be lone travellers. As many as 77 per cent respondents prefer not to socialise with passengers seated with them or keeping it down to minimum civilities.

On-board companions, shows books continue to be an all time favourite among travellers. However, electronic gadgets like iPod, tablets and gaming devices take over from there on, the survey maintained.

(Agencies)