MUMBAI — The delivery of five Airbus A380 “superjumbos” to India’s Kingfisher Airlines has been delayed, a spokesman for the carrier said Tuesday.
“Kingfisher has altered its specifications for the A380 order. Consequently, it is likely that the superjumbos are delivered later than originally planned,” a Kingfisher spokesman told AFP.
“The revised delivery schedule is to be advised by Airbus,” he added, stressing that the order had not been cancelled.
Kingfisher, owned by brewery tycoon Vijay Mallya, is India’s premier private sector airline and operates an all-Airbus fleet.
Earlier this year, deliveries for 32 A320 medium-haul aircraft were delayed due to problems faced by the aviation sector, including higher fuel costs and dwindling passenger numbers.
The A380s were due to begin operating in 2011-12. The company has an option to order five more.
Analysts said the decision was likely to have been taken by Kingfisher as it has been revising its international operations for next year.
“Internationally, Kingfisher will most likely operate for some more time with its A330 fleet,” said Kapil Kaul, an analyst at the Centre for Asia-Pacific Aviation.
“The fresh order of A380s will be looked at only after they finalise their international operations plan.”
Gurvinder Arora, senior manager of KPMG India, said the delay appeared logical amid “challenging times and before the airline is clear about capacity fulfilment and air traffic.”
India’s airlines are undergoing a shake-up with the largest domestic airline, Jet Airways, striking an alliance with arch-rival Kingfisher last month.
The deal includes code-sharing, route rationalisation and pooling crews.
India’s aviation sector posted a combined loss of 938 million dollars last year and the industry expects that figure will more than double this year.
Kingfisher itself is restructuring. In September, Mallya said they were to cut 300 jobs and return surplus aircraft to cut costs.
The airline currently operates 424 domestic flights and two international routes using 86 aircraft.