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Vijay Mallya's Kingfisher Airlines bringing good times for Air India?

The national carrier's bookings soared by almost 50% over the last 15 days as the Vijay Mallya-owned airline cancelled hundreds of flights.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Nov 16, 2011, 04.28 PM IST
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Vijay Mallya's Kingfisher Airlines bringing good times for Air India?
NEW DELHI: Kingfisher's loss has brought good times for another financially beleaguered carrier-Air India. The national carrier's bookings soared by almost 50% over the last 15 days as the Vijay Mallya-owned airline cancelled hundreds of flights.

The capacity crunch created by Kingfisher's flight cancellations just before the holiday season has raised fares by 20% already and travel agents say they will go up further. And the trend may continue with Kingfisher deciding to extend flight cancellations by a month till mid-December.

Air India has beaten IndiGo and Jet Airways in making most of this situation, although every player is benefiting. IndiGo bookings are up 25%, while Jet's are higher by about 15% on a month-on-month basis, travel agents say.

"Air India is flying traffic of cancelled Kingfisher flights at some discount, we understand, and that's why they automatically are carrying more passengers than the others," global travel portal Expedia (India) Marketing Head Manmeet Ahluwalia said.

Another factor working for Air India is that it has the maximum metro-to-metro connectivity, he added.

An Air India executive, on conditions of anonymity, said the airline has carried 4.23 lakh passengers between November 1-14 against 3.83 lakh in the first 14 days of October.

Kingfisher Airlines has cancelled hundreds of flights over the past 10 days, making thousands of passengers stranded across the country. On Tuesday, after announcing its highest quarterly loss of Rs 468.66 crore for July-September, the airline intimated travel agents that flight cancellations will be extended to mid-December from the earlier date of November 19.

This time the airline has assured that there will be no random cancellations and that it will stick to the schedule of canceling between 45 and 50 flights, Sunny Soshi, vice-president (air product) at travel portal Yatra.com said. But there is no running away from a rise in airfares over the next couple of weeks.

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