Air Carnival aircraft grounded

L N Revathy Coimbatore | Updated on January 15, 2018

Carrier faces AAI action over dues

Low-cost carrier Air Carnival promoted by CMC Group (Coimbatore Marine College) has stopped plying its aircraft from April 6, amidst talk of its promoters off-loading their stake.

The aircraft was grounded as the engineers went on a two-day strike demanding their salary dues.

The regional carrier, which started operations in July last with one ATR- 72 aircraft, is said to have parked the aircraft in Hosur.

The owners of the aircraft, Elix Aviation Capital, is now desperately trying to retrieve the aircraft documents to the aircraft from the promoters of Air Carnival.

Sources in the know of the development told BusinessLine that the lessor has been after the promoter to retrieve the papers for a week now, in vain.

Manufactured in 2007, the aircraft is said to have been operated by Kingfisher Airlines before Air Carnival took it on lease.

“The papers pertaining to the aircraft – from the manufacturing date to the present - is stored in 30 boxes,” said the source.

Meanwhile, Airports Authority of India has issued directions to the company for vacating the office space for non-settlement of dues at Coimbatore airport. The total outstanding as on April 20, 2017 is Rs 9,39,849.

The deadline for settlement has been mentioned as April 24, 2017, failing which the AAI would force the service operator to vacate the office space (ticketing counter, back-up office space in old viewing gallery and the space near TM office) at midnight in line with the agreement, the AAI communication said.

The only operating aircraft has been grounded and most operations have come to a standstill.

A visit to the Air Carnival office said it all. Skeletal staff were walking up and down the corridor, voicing anxiety over non-payment of salary and the irregularity of salary payment from the start.

The staff, numbering around 130, included 18 cabin crew members, some ground staff, engineers, pilots (at least 8 of them are ex-pats), administrative staff and so on.

Some staffers said one or two of their colleagues had already left for their home towns as they were unable to pay their rental dues and the houseowners had confiscated their belongings, threatening to release it only after settlement.

Those with a hefty package, it is learnt, have been receiving their dues at irregular intervals.

The total outstanding towards staff salary alone is said to be over Rs 2.2 crore.

It is also learnt that the management had issued 150 offer letters but not a single appointment letter till date.

“We have no letter of appointment; they did not give us salary statement for the first 8 – 9 months and they have deducted TDS, when we are not in the tax bracket,” said one staff.

The Chairman was unavailable for comment.

The staffers were impatiently waiting to meet Nathan, the Chairman of CMC Group, but had no clue when he would clarify their position.

Meanwhile some senior members, it is learnt had submitted their resignation last night and are learnt to have left in a whiff.

Bankers – Syndicate Bank -- are said to have issued notices to the company.

An air of uneasy calm loomed large at Air Carnival office, with the staff not knowing what to do next.

Published on April 25, 2017

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