Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Kingfisher Trying to Rope in Former SpiceJet Official

MUMBAI: Vijay Mallya-owned private air-carrier, Kingfisher Airlines is in talks with a top former executive of the budget airline, SpiceJet to take him onboard and a final decision on the issue is expected shotly, sources said.

"The former Chief Executive Officer of SpiceJet Airlines, Sanjay Aggarwal, and Kingfisher Airlines' Chairman, Vijay Mallya are in touch for quite some time. A meeting between the two is slated for later this week," industry sources familiar with the development said here on Wednesday.

If the talks fructify, Aggarwal may be appointed for a top job in Kingfisher as early as October, they said.

Aggarwal, who is credited with flying SpiceJet into profit in FY 10, the first time since its inception in 2005, quit the job in July after Chennai-based media baron, Kalanithi Maran bought 37.7 per cent stake with a 20 per cent open offer, following the US investor deciding to offoad his stake.

If Aggarwal comes onboard, his immediate task would be to turnaround the debt-ridden, loss-making airline, sources said.

Aviation industry research and analysis provider, Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) in its mid-year review of the domestic airlines in July this year had stressed on the need of CEO and COO in the airline.

"In order to ensure that the airline (Kingfisher) pursues a disciplined turnaround, a new organisation structure needs to be established with the induction of a CEO and COO," the report had said.

As on March 31, 2010, Kingfisher Airlines' debt stood at Rs 6,000-crore, the largest for any domestic private air carrier. Besides, the company posted a loss of Rs 1647-crore in FY 10.

Even in the first quarter of the current fiscal, airline posted a loss of Rs 187-crore.

Source: The Economic Times

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