New Delhi: Kingfisher Airlines' woes continue as the airline's employees will be marching from India Gate to Jantar Mantar on Tuesday as there seems no end to the deadlock with the management. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is also expected to send Chairman Vijay Mallya a notice in connection with the suicide of an employees wife.
The Kingfisher staffer's wife committed suicide on Thursday citing financial strain. She had cited financial stress caused by the non-payment of salaries in her suicide note. Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh called it an unfortunate incident.
The debt-laden airline has temporarily locked down its operations after a strike by a section of its employees earlier last week led to flight cancellations. Meanwhile, Aviation Minister Ajit Singh has said that Kingfisher Airlines will have to take permission from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to fly. "We have made it clear that Kingfisher has to get DGCA's permission if it wants to fly. Certified engineers have to approve it and the employees issue has to be sorted out," Ajit Singh said.
Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had issued a show-cause notice to Vijay Mallya-owned carrier on October 5 asking why its flying license should not be suspended or cancelled as it had grounded its entire fleet and failed to offer safe, efficient and reliable service. It has given the airline 15 days to reply.
Kingfisher Airlines, once India's second-largest airline, is half a year behind on salary payments and has grounded its fleet since Monday. Over 80 pilots and 270 Kingfisher engineers have been on intermittent strikes over the past few months, primarily over delay in payment of salaries. The Kingfisher management had also threatened to take legal action against the striking workers if they did not resume their duties.
Kingfisher has been saddled with a huge loss of Rs 8,000 crore and a debt burden of over Rs 7,000 crore, a large part of which it has not serviced since January. Several of its aircraft have been either taken away by its lessors or grounded by the Airports Authority of India for non-payment of dues during the past few months. Kingfisher's net loss in 2010-11 was Rs 1,027 crore and it doubled to Rs 2,328 crore in 2011-2012. The airline also owes money to 17 banks.