New Delhi: Flying licence of Kingfisher Airlines has been suspended till further orders, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation has said. "KFA's licence has been suspended till it comes with a revival plan," it said. The move comes after the Vijay Mallya-owned airlines failed to respond to DGCA's show cause notice. The airline has been struggling to pay its bills. It is seven months behind on salary payments and its fleet has been grounded since the start of the month after a staff protest turned violent. The DGCA had asked the carrier earlier this month why its licence to fly should not be cancelled for failing to provide a "safe, efficient and reliable service".
Suspension of flying licence implies an immediate halt to all bookings on the entire Kingfisher network as well as through travel agents, the officials said. The liquor baron Vijay Mallya-owned carrier has been saddled with a loss of Rs 8,000 crore and a debt burden of another over Rs 7,524 crore, a large part of which it has not serviced since January. The airline currently has only 10 operational aircraft compared to 66 a year ago.
Asked why the license was suspended, the officials said the government did not want a situation where the airline, which was on cash-and-carry mode for almost all service providers, re-starts operations and then keeps flying in fits and starts, as has been happening since last year-end.
The airline, under a lockout since October one and resultant suspension of entire operations, had on Friday sought more time to respond to the DGCA's show-cause notice but did not give any timeline by which it would do so.
The DGCA had issued the show-cause notice on October 5 to the crisis-ridden carrier asking why its flying licence should not be suspended or cancelled as it was not adhering to its flight schedule and "abruptly cancelling its flights time and again during the last 10 months", causing great inconvenience
to the travelling public. The aviation regulator had given the airline 15 days to respond, the deadline for which expired today.
(With additional inputs from PTI)