Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Will The Indian Airlines Industry Bleed to Recession?

Ummmm!!! Those days, not the early days of the Internet, when I wasn't too used to reading off the Computer Screen, and when I took out printouts if an email was too long( stories from Desi Fantasy too at times shhh!!).. Those days were before RSS became popular, and Dave Winer was busy figuring a way out to bring RSS to the public. And my daily dose of reading included Fortune, Time, Businessweek, and all Indian Magazines.. Now I read so many many feeds in so less time, I don't even know what I am reading, and my habit of copying Intelligent Bloggers' OPML lists keeps my feed list grow at a pace I can't seem to control, or monitor..

Oh, and there was no delicious nor Digg, so I couldn't bookmark that article. Or perhaps I read that at several places.. Something about the American Airlines Industry.. In a few years, severe undercutting by competitors, had bled the US Airlines Industry all the profits that the Industry had earned since the Inception of Air Travel....

It, would be faster for the Indian Airlines Industry, I am presuming, unless something is done real quick. Things like fuel prices, regulations etc are out of their control, but things that are in control, the Industry leaders must control..

Looks like the customers have never had it so good though..
Or do they?

Low prices notwithstanding, the service quality today are comparable to some state owned transport corporation.
Long queues, Delays, Rescheduling (WTF.. I had booked a ticket on monday morning so that I can reach office on time, but they rescheduled it... one day in advance, and it wasn't even a no-frill Airlines... I reached office at 2 PM) and hostile cabin crews..

With near full occupancy, and costs squeezed wherever possible, Budget airlines can't make the tickets any cheaper, and there is no sign of a profit in sight. I am not the "perfect customer for cheap airlines" but I have promised myself never to travel by a Budget Airlines, and I have met many people who swears the same.. Perhaps we are not part of that target market... Are the seats Cramped at Air Deccan?

The airlines are bleeding, and service quality is becoming worse.. Add to it the Airport woes... There was joke today on times of india, about someone who has earned extra miles for hovering over delhi skies waiting for permission to land.. The point is, how long can they bleed?

The only Airlines that sem to be doing exceedingly well is Kingfisher. I am not sure if Mallya is even looking at a Profit.. His Aircrafts are Giant Hoarding for his BEER brands, All the passengers are exposed to the Kingfisher Brand for the whole duration of the flight, and with no remote control to switch to another brand... And The airlines commercials are the Biggest Surrogate marketing Campaign in the History of Surrogate Advertising...

When the rest of the Airlines bleed to bankcruptcy, Cases and Cases of beers are being sold.. It won't be long when Mallya buys out Virgin :)

As for the rest, they should look at consolidation quickly, before the government intervenes. After all INDIAN is also at stake.

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