But the cash-strapped carrier claims that it has made alternative arrangements for passenger and cargo bookings
Crisis-ridden private carrier Kingfisher Airlines was, on Friday, slapped with suspension for non-payment of dues from two more IATA (International Air Transport Association) platforms that would affect its passenger and cargo bookings through agents. However, the cash-strapped carrier claimed that it had made alternative arrangements for these bookings.
The IATA, which had suspended it from its Clearing House on Wednesday, said Kingfisher had been suspended from participating in the global airline body's Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP) and Cargo Accounts Settlement System (CASS).
“The suspension is because the airline does not provide the IATA with a cash deposit, required to continue its participation in the BSP and the CASS. The required cash deposit is intended to ensure the airline is able to meet its financial obligations in the BSP and the CASS,'' an IATA spokesperson said in a statement.
The BSP and the CASS programmes facilitate and simplify the selling, reporting and remitting procedures between airlines and travel and cargo agents, both domestic and international.
According to the IATA spokesperson, the suspension from the BSP and the CASS means that the airline will not be able to use these platforms to settle its sales and bookings with IATA-recognised travel and cargo agents.
“The airline is still free to sell and settle directly with travel agents and freight forwarders,'' he said. Kingfisher's participation in the BSP and the CASS would be reinstated after the airline met the cash deposit requirement.
The IATA had earlier suspended the troubled private carrier on the same grounds from the IATA Clearing House (ICH) through which airlines and related firms settle accounts for services provided by them to other such companies.
Responding to the suspension, a Kingfisher spokesperson said, “The airline has made alternative arrangements to ensure that the customers can continue to book their travel on Kingfisher via select leading travel agents and their network of partners. In addition, they can continue to book and purchase tickets either via our website or through any of the Kingfisher Airlines ticketing offices across India and at international locations and our call centres.''
The spokesperson blamed the current situation on the freezing of the airline's bank accounts by the tax authorities.
“We are making all possible efforts to remedy this temporary situation. We would like to emphasise that all our flights will continue to operate normally as per the schedule published on the website,'' the spokesperson said. Vijay Mallya-owned carrier is operating about 200 flights, instead of over 400, for which it had sought permission to fly in the winter schedule from October till March, to 46 domestic and international destinations. The curtailed schedule was also approved recently by the aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). The airline, which is struggling to remain afloat, was hit hard on Saturday when state-run HPCL stopped jet fuel supplies, causing some cancellations and delays to some other flights. Fuel supplies were, however, resumed on Sunday.