SBI has not extended lifeline to Kingfisher Airlines: Minister


New Delhi, March 20

The Government today said State Bank of India (SBI) has not extended any lifeline to the cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines this fiscal.

“SBI, leader of a consortium of lender banks, has informed that no such lifeline has been extended to KFA by them during the current financial year,” the Minister of State for Finance, Mr Namo Narain Meena, said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.

He said this in response to a question whether the SBI and other PSU lenders have extended a Rs 1,200-crore lifeline to Kingfisher Airlines Ltd (KFA) by converting part of its loans into equity.

The crisis-ridden airline has a debt of Rs 7,057.08 crore. The financial crunch has hit its operations with dozens of flights being cancelled. Tax authorities have added to its woes by freezing its bank accounts for non-payment of dues.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), according to reports, is even mulling over the cancellation of Kingfisher’s flying permit after the airline submitted to it the summer flight schedule with 15 to 16 aircraft as against 28 planes submitted last month.

The beleaguered airline was served a show cause notice by the Civil Aviation regulator DGCA towards the end of February asking why its licence should not be suspended as it had made unannounced cancellations.

Facing a severe fund crunch, the Vijay Mallya-promoted airline had decided to curtail its overseas flight operations to avoid further losses and also return of a leased aircraft.

Mr Mallya is slated to meet the DGCA today.

“We are explaining the situation to DGCA and I hope he will be satisfied. I am meeting him today...I can tell you after that what he has to say,” Mr Mallya told presspersons outside Parliament House.

Published on March 20, 2012
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