Disruption likely to continue today

Mumbai operations of the cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) were affected on Saturday as sections of pilots stayed away, protesting against non-payment of salaries for the past seven months. Kingfisher’s Sunday operations may also be hit, with pilots threatening not to report for work.

Airline sources said at least eight flights departing from Mumbai and an equal number of arrivals were cancelled on Saturday.

The most affected routes were Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore. Kingfisher has 19 daily departures from Mumbai. The cancellations in arrivals were from Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore and Bhubaneswar.

Salary Delayed

The latest pilot action comes after the management failed to stick to its promise of paying past salaries by August 17. The agitation could also spread, with pilots in Delhi considering joining the stir.

The decision to strike came after about 15 pilots met with Chief Executive Officer Sanjay Agarwal to enquire about salary payments.

“The pilots were made to wait for almost one-and-a-half hours before the meeting began and were then told that Vijay Mallya has said salaries would be paid by the coming Tuesday,” sources said.

The airline now operates close to 100 flights a day, down from the over 400 in January.

The airline’s fleet strength has dwindled to 20 aircraft from 64 in January.

Earlier this month, the airline reported widening of its losses to Rs 651 crore for the quarter ended June 30, from the Rs 264-crore loss a year ago.

ashwini.phadnis@thehindu.co.in

nivedita.ganguly@ thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on August 18, 2012)
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