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Sanjay Agarwal, CEO, Kingfisher Airlines
Sanjay Agarwal, CEO, Kingfisher Airlines

Talks with employees inconclusive

Kingfisher Airlines once again put off plans to resume operations.

After a meeting with employees in Mumbai on Wednesday, the airline’s Chief Executive Officer, Sanjay Agarwal, told newspersons that Kingfisher will extend the date of resuming its operations. Agarwal maintained that the talks “were positive and the meeting went in the right direction.”

The airline has till October 20 to reply to a showcause notice issued by the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) as to why its licence should not be suspended or cancelled for failing to establish a “safe, efficient and reliable service.”

Sources in the DGCA said that the deadline will not be extended even if the airline does not respond to the showcause notice.

The airline suspended operations on October 1 after engineers refused to certify aircraft and the showcause notice was issued by the DGCA on October 5.

The airline’s management and employees are expected to meet again soon to resolve the issue of lifting the lockout. While neither side would say when the next meeting will be held, sources indicated that it is scheduled for Monday, almost 48 hours after the DGCA deadline expires.

Sources also claim that the employees who attended today’s meeting have been asked to return to their cities and convince their staff that pending salaries will be paid.

An engineer, who attended the meeting but declined to be identified, told newspersons that payment of seven months salaries is still the “main agenda.”

Pilots and other employees of the airline are on a strike protesting non-payment of salaries for seven months since March. “There is no climb down on our demand for the payment of seven months’ salaries,” the employee representative said.

satyanarayan.iyer@thehindu.co.in

Ashwini.phadnis@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on October 17, 2012)
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