Indian airline Kingfisher posts widening losses

MUMBAI, November 15, 2011 (AFP) – Kingfisher Airlines said Tuesday it had doubled its losses in the July-September quarter, as its billionaire chief Vijay Mallya was set to announce plans to keep the Indian company afloat. The country’s second-largest airline by market share showed a net loss of 4.69 billion rupees ($93 million) for the second quarter, against a loss of 2.31 billion rupees in the same period a year earlier.

The airline has cancelled more than 200 flights in the past week, raising fears it could go bankrupt.

Kingfisher has been one of India’s worst-hit airlines in an industry plagued by high jet fuel prices, fierce competition and inadequate airport infrastructure.

The board of the struggling carrier has been in a series of closed-door meetings in the past few days to look for ways to slash debt and keep the carrier flying.

Revenues for the quarter rose 10 percent to 15.28 billion rupees, Kingfisher said in a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Aircraft fuel costs surged 70 percent to 8.17 billion rupees in the period.

Shares in the airline were marginally up 0.20 rupees or 0.94 percent at 21.55 after the announcement.

Kingfisher board members have met banke