Mumbai: Mumbai-based pilots of grounded Kingfisher Airlines on Monday served it an ultimatum to clear their dues by January 31 or face another winding-up petition even as the beleagured management on Monday appealed to its Delhi-based engineers not to resort to any legal action.
The pilots gave the ultimatum at a meeting with top management representatives including chief executive Sanjay Agarwal. In a bid to pre-empt legal action by the engineers, the management of Vijay Mallya-owned carrier appealed to them not to take such a step but did not make any commitment about the payments, sources said.
"The management has appealed to the engineers to not file a winding-up petition as it will have an adverse impact on the revival plan, which is awaiting regulatory approval," airline sources said.
Kingfisher has been grounded since October 1, following a strike by its employees seeking clearing of salary dues.
The appeal was made at a two-hour meeting between the management and pilots at the Kingfisher House in Mumbai on Monday evening. In New Delhi yesterday, the engineers had decided to move a winding-up petition in the Delhi High Court by the end of the week.
"Pilots categorically told the management that it must clear their salary dues by the month-end failing which they will take a legal recourse in the form of a similar action that is decided by the engineers," sources said today.
The management, however, told them that it expects to have "some funds in the account" by the week end, the sources said. "Chief Executive Sanjay Aggarwal, along with Executive Vice President Hitesh Patel, attended the meeting, but did not make any commitment to make the payments," they said.
According to sources, pilots also demanded a "written assurance" from Mallya through an e-mail about clearing their dues by January 31. "However, Agarwal did not make any assurance," they said.
A section of airline's former pilots have already sent a legal notice to the company seeking salaries within three weeks, failing which they have threatened to move ahead with a winding-up petition.
The ex-pilots have also threatened to file criminal proceedings against the management for not paying the income deducted from their salaries to the government. The development comes even as the airline management has been trying to resume operations as early as next month.
Kingfisher has been grounded since October 1, following a strike by its employees seeking clearing of salary dues, which have not been paid for the past eight months.
Following this aviation regulator DGCA suspended the flying licence of the carrier on October 20 and on December 31 cancelled it. However, under the civil aviation rules, the airline can get back the licence within two years.
Mallya had last week written to the employees that he would restart operations by the end of February with seven planes, even as he is looking for a foreign investor.