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Kingfisher Airlines All Set To Expand Its Horizons

As Regional Director of Kingfisher Airline’s North America operations, Atul Kumria takes pride in being associated with India’s only five star international airline. Kingfisher’s recent induction as member-elect in the premier oneworld alliance has broadened its distribution across the continents. And Kumria is well on the job consolidating its position in the North America market.

While speaking with NRITODAY, Kumria shares his views on the industry scenario and Kingfisher’s effort to increase brand visibility through corporate and community relationship building.

Atul Kumria with the CG of Chicago, Ashok Kumar Attri and his wife Mrs. Usha Attri and Mrs. Sengupta, the assistant director of India tourism.

How much do you think has economic downturn impacted the civil aviation industry in North America and Kingfisher Airlines in particular?

Data from Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) and BSP (IATA Billing & Settlement Plan) reveal that the North America market has definitely seen a rebound in last six months. Of course the front end of business is not at the same level but confidence is building up on travel per se. We have seen positive numbers especially on the US-India route with fantastic support from our key regions. There has been marked increase even in within India sales, of tickets booked from here.

Atul Kumria with the CG of NY, Prabhu Dayal and Minister Kamal Nath.

In what direction do you plan to steer Kingfisher airlines in the US?

We have just announced signing MoU with oneworld alliance, which takes us to the next level of worldwide operations. We are very excited about this opportunity. By November 2011 we will be official members (as of now we are member elect) and will be consolidating our position through our alliance, which will broaden are distribution within the continents.

Can you please tell us about Kingfisher Airlines’ special incentives going on now?

We are offering some fantastic deals to our customers in North America on the occasion of India’s 64th Independence Day. People can contact their travel agents for the details.

We also have great discounts across the network in India apart from some very good deals with our partner airlines in the US and Canada.

Atul Kumria with Anup Jalota, renowned Indian musician.

What are the goals for Kingfisher in 2010 and beyond in North America?

We are focusing on consolidating our position as offline airlines. We are very active in our community and forging trade initiatives to strengthen our brand presence. We are working closely with India Tourism office as the only five star airline in India to show incredible India to the world.

Akanksha, Atul, Nirupama and Arusha: the Kumria family.

Kingfisher recently became a memberelect of oneworld alliance. How will it benefit North America operations of Kingfisher?

Some formidable airlines and reputed airlines are part of oneworld alliance and being accepted as member-elect puts us on a totally different map. We will benefit from the distribution network of big carriers and have opportunity to partner with them. We are looking forward to that relationship depending on approvals from all the regulatory bodies.

Which are the key channels through which Kingfisher has built or plans to build its brand awareness among the target markets in the US?

Primarily it is through word of mouth though we are fully visible through print media and are working with TV channels as well. When our guests fly with us, they experience the best services and spread the word. We are closely working with the diaspora and very visible within the community. An example is our participation in the India Day Parades in Manhattan and in Edison, NJ. We don’t miss an opportunity to work with the Department of Tourism, India. We make sure we are actively involved in community and trade events.

Atul Kumria poses with Shilpa Shetty

What are your responsibilities as Kingfisher’s Regional Director?

Relationship building with corporates in North America and remain active in the diaspora as well as in trade activities. Be very responsive to trade and guests. To make sure we are available for our guests, customers and travel partners. Prepare ourselves – whenever the headquarter decides to fly – for ground operations from North America and Canada.

Tell us a little bit about your education and career and how you came to be where you are today?

Fortunately I belong to a family where everyone is in aviation industry. I started my career with Pan Am Airways after a degree in tourism from the Delhi University. I worked for a few years with Delta Airlines and several with United Airlines before moving to New York with Kingfisher.

Your job took you to several countries. Any insights to share?

Over the years, I can say I gained sensitivity to different cultures. You learn to respect them all. The experience of living across continents broadens your perspectives and way of thinking.

How would you define your work style?

I am very time conscious besides being a number person. Instead of putting 18 hours into a job, I would rather want to work 8 hours but be focused about what we do and be more productive. The first few years were focused on career building so now I devote time to family as well as time is ticking away.

What would like to accomplish in near future?

I would like to see lot of success for my airline not just in North America but worldwide. It’s an honor to be a part of a five star international airline from India and I would like to take it to next level and make sure we are successful in North America. [ By Lavanya Garikina ]