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Kingfisher Airlines was an Indian full-service airline and a subsidiary of United Breweries, owner of the Kingfisher brand of beer and run by Indian liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya. It competed against two full-service carriers (FSCs): the state-owned Air India and the privately-owned Jet Airways.

Kingfisher acquired Air Deccan, the first true low-cost airline in the country, in 2008 and rebranded it first to Simplifly Deccan and then to Kingfisher Red. However, faced with mounting losses and debts running into billions of dollars, the airline suspended operations in October 2012, never to fly again. The demise of Kingfisher left Air India and Jet Airways as the only FSCs in the country.

Seven years after Kingfisher, Jet Airways itself ceased operations in April 2019 as it could not cope with the competition from low-cost airlines like IndiGo and the huge debts it was accumulating. Jet Airways’ collapse leaves the country with two FSCs: Air India and Vistara, which was launched in 2015.


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