London: Abu Dhabi-based airline, Etihad Airways and Indian full service carrier, Kingfisher Airlines are negotiating deals that will allow them access to more slots at London Heathrow (LHR). Reports suggest that Kingfisher may make Heathrow its first long-haul destination as soon as it starts international operations from India later this year.
Industry sources indicate that Kingfisher may have obtained an initial pair of slots from the Heathrow co-ordinator, but may be negotiating for a second pair of slots from KLM. The Dutch carrier, part of the Air France-KLM consortium, has said that it plans to suspend its Rotterdam-Heathrow service in order to lease out the slots.
It said it was in talks with ''various parties.''
Over the previous 12 months KLM has cancelled its Heathrow-Eindhoven service and also cut daily flights to Amsterdam. These slots have been made available to its US partner, Northwest Airlines.
Industry observers note that more and more of Heathrow slots are being taken over from short-haul carriers by long-haul carriers operating wide-body aircraft. This is resulting in an increase of passengers at LHR without an increase in flights.