New Delhi: Cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines employees resumed work on Friday after striking a deal with the management and agreeing to the staggered salary payment schedule proposed by the company. Reports said that many of them have received the salary for the month of March.
Meanwhile, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said that the airline has to satisfy the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and paying salaries is not enough. "How can I tell you what they would present to DGCA only they would know what he will present. They have to satisfy the DGCA that they have a viable operation plan. They have just paid salaries but there are many dues on Kingfisher be it tax or any other thing," said Ajit.
Airline CEO Sanjay Aggarwal is scheduled to meet the DGCA officials later on Friday to present a roadmap for the revival of the airlines. The airline engineers have to clear aircraft for airworthiness and the company has to prove there is no dispute with employees and that all arrears are being paid. The meeting comes after the striking employees and management shook hands on a stagerred salary payment plan. They have been promised that they will get four months salary before Diwali.
After 25 days of protest, a lockdown and a suspension of license, the airline is limping back towards normalcy. The airline management is expected to meet the DGCA on Friday after its employees finally agreed to return back to work.
All Kingfisher flights have remained suspended since September 30 due to the strike, followed by a lockout from October one and then suspension of their Scheduled Operator's Permit (SOP) or the flying license by aviation regulator DGCA. The license of Kingfisher was issued on August 26, 2003, and is valid till December 31, 2012.
The carrier, which early in 2011 had a fleet of 66 aircraft, now has ten including seven Airbus A-320s and three ATR turbo-props. It is 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 has not been serviced for several months.
This breakthrough came just in time for owner Vijay Mallya to land in Delhi and head straight for the Indian Grand Prix in Greater Noida. The question of course remains whether just the payment of salaries will be enough for Kingfisher to take flight once again?