Difference Between Kingfisher and Kingfisher Red (With Table)

Kingfisher was one of the most prominent figures in Indian airlines for some years. It provided a luxurious experience to its travelers throughout the country and was known for providing additional services on their flights. Kingfisher and Kingfisher Red were two of Kingfisher’s airline groups.

Kingfisher vs Kingfisher Red

The difference between Kingfisher and Kingfisher Red is that Kingfisher was a premium airline group established in 2003 whereas Kingfisher Red was a low-cost airline group whose parent company was Kingfisher Airlines itself.

Kingfisher was an Indian-based airline group established in 2003. Kingfisher Airlines once held India’s second-largest share in the domestic air travel market. However, the airline was discontinued in 2012. It offered premium services to travelers and was one of the most highly rated airlines.

Kingfisher Red was a low-cost airline group that was formerly known as Deccan till October 2007. Kingfisher Airlines took a 50% share in Deccan and renamed it Kingfisher Red. It emphasized competing with other low-cost airline companies such as SpiceJet, GoAir, etc.

Comparison Table Between Kingfisher and Kingfisher Red

Parameters of ComparisonKingfisherKingfisher Red
Parent CompanyUnited Breweries Group.Kingfisher Airlines.
Established InIt was established in 2003.It was established in 2007.
HeadquartersLocated in Bengaluru, Karnataka.Located in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
FacilitiesTelevision, Headphones, magazines, newspapers, etc.No extra facilities.
DiscontinuationIt was discontinued in 2012. It was discontinued in 2011.

What is Kingfisher?

Kingfisher was an Indian-based airline group established in 2003. The parent company of Kingfisher Airlines was the United Breweries Group. Kingfisher Airlines once held India’s second-largest share in the domestic air travel market. It offered premium services to travelers and was one of the most highly rated airlines. Kingfisher also started its international services in 2008, with the first route connecting Bengaluru to London.

Kingfisher Airlines was known to provide an exceptional experience to its passengers. There were pre-installed televisions on the back of every seat and passengers were provided with complimentary headphones for an uninterrupted experience. The availability of international magazines, newspapers, books, etc., was a plus. The quality of seats was also excellent.

The flights were mostly punctual with time and the food quality provided during the travel was also top-notch. Furthermore, if a passenger had to cancel the tickets in advance, Kingfisher provided comparatively superior services and the full refund was immediately credited back in most cases. Hence, Kingfisher had developed a trust in the Indian airline market.

Kingfisher Airlines suffered heavy losses for a few years because of its low-cost airline, Kingfisher Red. As a result, there were excessive debts and unpaid taxes due to which Kingfisher Airlines was discontinued in 2012.

What is Kingfisher Red?

Kingfisher Red was Kingfisher’s low-cost airline service which was established in 2007. Kingfisher Airlines was the parent company of Kingfisher Red. Kingfisher Airlines took a 50% share in Deccan and renamed it Kingfisher Red. It emphasized competing with other low-cost airline companies such as SpiceJet, GoAir, etc.

Since Kingfisher Red was a low-cost airline service, it didn’t offer the luxurious experience of Kingfisher Airlines. However, the overall experience was acceptable for most passengers as the flights were always punctual and domestic traveling only took a few hours. One advantage that Kingfisher Red had over other airlines including Kingfisher Red was that the passengers could earn frequent flyer miles known as King Miles for all tickets booked on Kingfisher Red through the King Club loyalty program run by Kingfisher.

Nevertheless, the stiff competition proved to be a little too much for Kingfisher Red. With time, the quality of services offered by Kingfisher Red deteriorated, and the customers shifted their trust to other airlines. The downfall of Kingfisher Red was a result of an ineffective decision made by the company.

Kingfisher Red was discontinued in 2011 after reporting irreparable financial losses, which left Kingfisher in heavy debt. Not only Kingfisher Red, but the premium Kingfisher Airlines also took a major hit, resulting in the suspension of Kingfisher’s license. As a result, both Kingfisher and Kingfisher Red were disbanded by the government.

Main Differences Between Kingfisher and Kingfisher Red

  1. Kingfisher was a 5-star airline group whereas Kingfisher Red was a low-cost airline group.
  2. In kingfishers, passengers were accessed to various international magazines and newspapers whereas, in Kingfisher Red, no such facility was provided.
  3. There were pre-installed televisions behind seats and passengers were provided with headphones. On the other hand, no such services were offered in Kingfisher Red.
  4. Food quality was much superior in Kingfisher as compared to Kingfisher Red.
  5. Kingfisher did not offer King Miles whereas Kingfisher offered King Miles through which passengers could earn frequent flyer miles for all booked tickets.

Conclusion

Kingfisher had the second-largest share in India’s domestic air travel market. At that time, the chairman of the company was Vijay Mallya. Even though Kingfisher was pretty competitive when it came to value-for-money services, it had to be discontinued after some years of excellent services.

In the fourth quarter of 2011, Kingfisher started reporting enormous losses. The most significant cause of this downfall was the company’s investment in acquiring and developing its low-cost airline group, Kingfisher Red. For three consecutive years, Kingfisher suffered a heavy loss of 130 US million dollars. As a result, Kingfisher Red was shut down in 2011.

By December 2011, Kingfisher owed 9.3 US million dollars for just taxes, and by early 2012, Kingfisher accumulated losses of about 930 US million dollars and therefore, Kingfisher’s rank dropped down to last in the Indian airline market. In October 2012, Kingfisher Airlines had to eliminate its services when its license was suspended.

The experience offered by Kingfisher to its passengers was marginally better than other airlines. Facilitation of televisions, complimentary headphones, top-notch services, etc. was highly praised. However, the acquiring of Kingfisher Red as a low-cost airline group resulted in the company’s downfall. As of today, due to heavy debt, Vijay Mallya resides in the UK despite court proceedings by Indian banks.

References

  1. https://www.inderscienceonline.com/doi/abs/10.1504/IJMFA.2018.095976
  2. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3417107
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