Mumbai: Kingfisher Airlines on Monday evening declared a temporary lockout of its operations till October 4. The decision of the airlines came few hours after Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh warned that the company will not be allowed to fly if safety norms are flouted. The Aviation Minister categorically clarified that no Kingfisher flights would take off till the engineers certified on the safety of aircraft.
Reiterating passenger safety was the foremost concern, Singh said that the Vijay Mallya-promoted Kingfisher Airlines can be shut down if safety concerns arise. "We can't allow them to fly until their aircraft is certified. Their engineers (who are on strike) are not certifying the aircraft. They can get the planes certified by other certified engineers also," he said.
"If they are not paying somebody, they (protesters) have the option to leave or take the necessary industrial action," Singh added.
Singh's warning came after the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) summoned Kingfisher CEO after all its flights are cancelled following a staff strike. The DGCA said that the flights were cancelled after the pilots also joined the strike and refused to work over non-payment of salaries.
Over 50 Kingfisher Airlines flights from major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore were cancelled on Monday. Heated exchanges took place between the passengers and Kingfisher staff at several airports, including Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai.
The airline in a statement said that it was taking all possible measures to lessen the impact of the employee strike.
Here is the letter issued by the CEO of the Kingfisher Airlines in this regard:
Dear Team Member,
A series of protracted and unabated incidents of violence, criminal intimidation, assault, wrongful restraint and other illegal acts by a section of non-management Engineering staff and illegally refraining from attending work by a section of non-management Engineering staff and pilots which were all unnecessary and unprovoked commenced yesterday morning and continued today.
As a result of the said illegal actions including the strike, the Company has been unable to operate its flights. Therefore a partial lock-out is declared with immediate effect in respect of the non-management employees belonging to the Engineering and Flight Operations departments. Management will review the situation on October 4, 2012 or the day on which this illegal strike is called off, whichever is earlier. Until such time, the Company is unable to operate flights as a result of the above said illegal actions.
We will keep you informed of further developments.