Will take a call on operations on Oct 4: Kingfisher Airlines

Our Bureaus New Delhi/Mumbai | Updated on March 12, 2018

There has been a complete shutdown of operations of the debt-ridden carrier across its network.

Kingfisher Airlines operations have been completely paralysed across all its networks. Around 270 engineers have been on strike due to non-payment of wages.

The airline's CEO Sanjay Agarwal along with Executive Vice-President Hitesh Patel today met DGCA chief Arun Mishra.

Sources say that the DGCA was informed that 2,000 of the 4,000 employees have been paid salaries for March. Asked about plans for restarting operations, the airline officials said they were hopeful of restarting from Friday. Negotiations are planned with engineers and pilots in Mumbai later this evening. Agarwal said that the company will take a call on operations on October 4.

Plea to unfreeze bank accounts

At the meeting, the DGCA was also informed that the management had had discussions with CBDT and CBEC on unfreezing the bank accounts. Such a step would release about Rs 60 crore which could be then used to pay March salaries of the remaining employees.

Airline officials said that if the capital restructuring plan was approved, the outstanding salary arrears would be cleared.

Officials claimed that they are in advance talks with two or three companies for investment in the company. They said that they had full support of the local banks who had told the airline that if they can find an investor then the local banks will cooperate with their restructuring plans.

At the meeting, the DGCA officials communicated to the airline that they would like regular and scheduled services to become operational as early as possible, but that the airline cannot be allowed to run with safety concerns. It made clear to the airline that before Kingfisher is allowed to restart, its operational plans will have to get the nod of DGCA.

The DGCA officials also said that they were ready to talk to the airline employees. They said if the airline came back by Thursday with an operational plan, then it could take to the skies by Friday.

The airline said that it was incurring an operational loss of Rs 8 crore a day by operating its flights and the operational loss declined by half while not operating them.

Sources say that Kingfisher employees were keen to report for work although a section of them was intimidating others from going back to work.

A small group of employees are creating a problem and they are happy to stay home, says Agarwal, adding that the company will clear some of the salaries in next four weeks. "I get my salary the last, so I too haven't got it."

"We explained our position to the DGCA and we are sticking to our position and the lockout is till the 4th," said Agarwal.

The airline has staff strength for an airline with a fleet of 60 aircraft although it operates only 10 aircraft now. The airline has seven Airbus A320 and 3 ATRs. The airline is also hopeful of inducting one more ATR shortly.

Crisis for Kingfisher Airlines escalated with engineers of the airline in Chennai joining the industrial action and not reporting for work.

According to sources, the employees have written to the management for immediate payment of wages. The employees have not been paid salaries from last seven months.

The airline is likely to approach other carriers for safety certification, airline sources indicated. The Vijay Mallya-promoted airline has reportedly approached Air India and others for getting its aircraft checked for certification.

While Kingfisher has only Airbus aircraft in its fleet, the other carriers operate a mix of Airbus and Boeing fleet.

Earlier, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh had said: "We can't allow Kingfisher to fly until their aircraft are certified. (Since) their engineers are on strike, they can get the planes certified by other engineers also."

Published on October 02, 2012

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