With banks putting pressure on the beleaguered Kingfisher airlines to pump in huge funds to revive the carrier, the government on Tuesday said Kingfisher would not be allowed to take wings till it clears all its outstanding dues with various stakeholders including pending salaries of its staffers.
“Kingfisher cannot be allowed to fly without settling its dues. Just paying the employees is not sufficient. The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has said in no uncertain terms that all stakeholders need to be satisfied before the domestic carrier is allowed to fly again,’’ Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh told journalists here.
“Kingfisher needs to obtain statements from creditors, including banks, airport operators and employees that they do not object to resumption of flights,’’ Mr. Singh said soon after the airline's CEO Sanjay Aggarwal met Civil Aviation Secretary K.N. Srivastava to seek permission to resume operations.
Mr. Singh said the airline has no concrete funding plan. “The bankers have to give go-ahead to re-start operations. The company needs at least Rs. 1,000 crore to resume operations. The settlement of Airports Authority of India's (AAIs) dues was “non-negotiable. They need to prove they've the ability to scale-up funds to sustain operations in the long run,’’ he added.
It is learnt that Mr. Srivastava told Mr. Aggarwal that any decision on allowing Kingfisher to resume operations would be taken only after it paid salaries to its employees and cleared their pending dues. Salaries and allowances of Kingfisher employees, including pilots and engineers, have been pending for over eight months now.
Mr. Aggarwal’s meeting with Mr. Srivastava came six days after the former met DGCA, Arun Mishra in an attempt to convince the regulator on the airline's revival plans. However, Kingfisher has been unable to furnish any details on the funding of the airline's revival plan by the parent company, UB Group, which the aviation regulator wanted. Mr. Agarwal had pitched with DGCA for resumption of operations by April when the summer season begins. Kingfisher's flying licence (Scheduled Operator's Permit) was suspended DGCA in October following flight disruptions caused by strikes triggered by unpaid salaries.