Sunday, October 21, 2012

Immature Indian Airlines!

As though depressing news wasn't enough, it was sad to hear of the DGCA canceling the licenses of Kingfisher Airlines.
But then the likes of Jet Airways and IndiGo are somehow surviving. The best are the foreign carriers which are thriving flying in and out of Indian skies and laughing all the way to the bank.
The Wall Street Journal had a story on the oddest air routes in the world. And one tiny carrier, with just 11 aircraft, from the nation of Armenia, nestled in the Caucasus highlands, Armavia is flying the Sardars from the pinds of Amritsar to Birmingham, via  Zvartnots International Airport at Yerevan.
My folks recently traveled to Beijing from Delhi, to meet my sister. they flew on Air China. Air China too picking up Punjabis and giving them free transit hotel rooms in Beijing and flying them onward to Trrannto (Toronto) and other places in Cannadda (Canada). Other Chinese carriers are also swamping Indian airports - China Southern, China Eastern besides Air China which is adding a 2x daily frequency to Kunming from Kolkata, yes, that's right Kolkata of all places!
Jet Airways recently pulled out of New York's JFK Airport, while it continues to fly in to Newark. The void left behind Jet Airways is being filled in by Virgin Atlantic, which starts flights to New York from Delhi on October 25, 2012.
The best is Emirates, which has been called as India's "national airline" by the Economic Times flies Indian passengers from mini-metros like Ahmedabad and Hyderabad to far flung places like Rio di Janeiro, Sao Paolo and Buenos Aires, besides the whole of Africa and Europe.
I feel Indian carriers suffer from a classic problem - a short sighted management which fails to see opportunities coupled with a stupid and stifling bureaucracy-politician nexus.
The managements of airlines have no long term vision - they just seem to be content with living the day rather building a future. They simply fail to see the opportunities within  that the Armavias and Emirates and Air Chinas are capitalising on. Indian carriers are mentally ill prepared for a long gestation period before they can actually cream the long-haul market. The worst offender on this count is Jet Airways which hastily pulled out of the India - Shanghai - San Francisco and India - Johannesburg sectors, routes where South African Airways and Chinese carriers are flourishing.
The government should be working on building multiple Indian carriers of quality and repute to feed in passengers from the West into hub airports and fly them to the East - India is strategically located to do that. But do they have the vision?
But has anyone given a thought to the tragic ordeal of Kingfisher employees? Certainly not the Mallyas who are cooling their heels abroad as Mallya Jr tweeted about the club life at 5AM in London. How tragic and immature!

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