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24 February 2024

Kingfisher Airlines defers Dubai launch until June

Kingfisher launched its international operations in September 2008. (AFP)

By Shweta Jain

Kingfisher Airlines has put off its plan to launch Dubai services until June, according to an airline source and Dubai-based travel agents.

The Bangaluru-based airline had earlier decided to launch Dubai route on March 7, but has now deferred it given the current slowdown in air travel and declining airfares.

"We would be launching a daily Bangaluru-Dubai service now sometime in June, though no specific date has been decided yet. The reason for deferring the launch is the current situation wherein airfares have dropped to very low levels," the airline source told Emirates Business.

At present UAE carriers such as Emirates and Etihad Airways are offering return airfares to India at below Dh1,000 levels, according to travel agents, who pointed out that Etihad Airways' India fares recently went down to as low as Dh530. "We would have also had to join the bandwagon had we launched as planned, on March 7. There has been a drastic change in air travel in the region. So we took a decision to defer it until June when it would be a peak travel season," said the airline source.

He said the airline would launch one more destination out of India in June, besides Bangaluru, connecting to Dubai. "We are currently studying various options including Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Ahmedabad. The Kingfisher team is working on the feasibility of the routes, after which we will decide one of these four cities to connect to Dubai."

Meanwhile, Kingfisher Airlines has plans to launch three to four new global destinations this year from Bangaluru, despite the economic downturn.

Also, this is the second time Kingfisher has deferred its Dubai launch. The earlier plan was to launch flights between Bangaluru and Dubai in February 8 this year. The airline had said in January that it will fly the Airbus A320 aircraft for its daily Dubai flights with a single-class economy offering.

"With Dubai's daily service, Bangaluru will become Kingfisher's new hub in India with seamless transit without any change of airports to directly connect to over 26 cities in India," the airline said this in a memo to one of the Dubai-based travel agents.

Kingfisher launched its international operations in September 2008, connecting Bangaluru with a daily non-stop London flight, followed by a Mumbai-London flight that commenced in January this year.