New Delhi: Trouble also continues for Vijay Mallya-promoted Kingfisher Airlines. A day after its flights were grounded by a strike, Kingfisher CEO Sanjay Agarwal met the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and promised to restart operations by Friday. Agarwal also explained the partial lockout at the DGCA office. Kingfisher has promised to restart operations by Friday.
For that to happen employees who've gone without salaries for over seven months will need to be paid. Kingfisher says its confident that the Income Tax department will defreeze its accounts, releasing Rs 60 crore to tide over the current crisis. But this will cover just part of the dues. Agarwal said, "We will take a call on resumption of services on the October 4."
Meanwhile, the DGCA insists safety is paramount. Kingfisher will not be allowed to start operations until all safety norms are met and its engineers certify aircraft are fit for operations. The airline will have to submit a new schedule and provide a sustainable operations plan.
Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said, "Passengers' safety can not be compromised."
Kingfisher is carrying losses of over Rs 8000 crore as well as a Rs 7000-crore debt burden. Several of its aircraft have been either seized by lessors or grounded. Kingfisher claims to be in advanced talks with two-three foreign airlines for a stake sale but this could take time. If it is unable to negotiate a successful settlement with striking employees, it could stay grounded for much longer.