ibnlive » Business

Feb 19, 2012 at 01:32pm IST

DGCA starts enquiry into KFA flight cancellation

New Delhi: In a more trouble for cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has started an enquiry in to the cancellation of flights. Sources have said that the DGCA has asked for a full report by Sunday evening.

Kingfisher cancelled scheduled flights without informing regulator in clear violation of rules. Civil Aviation Minister is being consulted on what action to take. Sources said that the termination of Kingfisher license is possible if situation deteriorates further. Around 16 Kingfisher flights have been cancelled out of Mumbai. Destinations like Delhi, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Bangalore, Kolkata are also affected.

But the airline, however, denied that it is in trouble. CEO Sanjay Aggarwal said the situation will improve a week from now. "We are not going to pull out operations from any base and about 10 aircraft will be back in service soon. We are in talks with investors and the airline will soon get recapitalised," he said.

"Admittedly there have been flight disruptions since Saturday which will continue for four days due to unexpected events including bird strikes which rendered aircraft out of service. We, therefore could only operate 208 daily flights. The speculative queries that we are reducing our operating schedule from 240 flights a day are ill-founded as we will operate the full schedule on our booking system within the next 4 days," he added.

However, he confirmed that the airlines' bank accounts were attached by the tax authorities.

"This has happened in the past not just to us but also to Air India. We have resolved issues before and will do so again. We have had a good meeting with our consortium of banks who have accepted, in principle, the viability study prepared by SBI Capital markets and independent consultants. Our request for additional working capital has been acknowledged by the consortium and is subject to individual bank approvals," Aggarwal said.

Passengers of Kingfisher Airlines suffered severe hardship on Saturday as the beleaguered carrier cancelled several flights from some key cities and completely shut down operations from Kolkata, including international flights, for about ten days.

Travel agents and airport sources said at least five flights from Delhi, including three to Pune, and another six flights from Mumbai were cancelled today. There was no flight operation from Kolkata which has seven daily flights, including one each to Dhaka and Bangkok.

Kingfisher's services to Singapore were also affected as its website showed there were no flights available for the next ten days. Same was the case for Bangkok. In Hyderabad, the cash-strapped carrier has three flights to Bangalore, Chennai and Vijayawada on scheduled cancellation.

Saturday's cancellations were in addition to those flights which were cancelled earlier after the airline had said it had grounded 20 of the 64 aircraft for reconfiguration and want of repairs late last year.

Maintaining that most of the stranded passengers at various airports were accommodated in other airlines, airport sources said over 30 Kingfisher aircraft were grounded. The airline was operating only about 160-180 flights out of its already curtailed winter schedule of 240.