Cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines, which has drastically reduced its services for the past one week said on Saturday that it would normalize the entire flight schedule in the next three to four months.
Top Kingfisher officials, including CEO Sanjay Aggarwal, met Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) E K Bharat Bhushan on Saturday to brief the regulator about the flight curtailment plans of the major domestic carrier.
“Our cancellations range between 50—55 flights a day. There will be no more flight cancellations barring whatever we have already announced,” Mr. Aggarwal told PTI when asked what they had told the DGCA.
“We will restore all these flights gradually over the next three to four months, starting December,” he said, adding that by the next summer, the airline would have an operating schedule like in the past.
The airline has suffered a loss of Rs 1,027 crore in 2010-11 and has a mounting debt of Rs 7057.08 crore.
DGCA had asked the Kingfisher top brass to explain the reasons behind continued flight cancellations and their plans to restore the normal schedule.
Asked about the reasons for the planned flight cancellations, Mr. Aggarwal said while aircraft reconfiguration process was currently on, some aircraft also were awaiting supply of engines from foreign manufacturers.
Besides, the airline was also in the process of rationalising its routes with its promoter Vijay Mallya stating that Kingfisher should not fly on non-profitable routes.
Kingfisher had recently announced its exit from low-cost operations and was converting those of its planes having an all-economy configuration into two-class ones by adding business class seats on them.
DGCA officials were not available comments on the meeting with Mr. Aggarwal but sources said the passengers’ complaints regarding cancelled services were a cause of major concern as the peak winter season air traffic is about to begin.
Other airlines are wary of accommodating passengers of cancelled Kingfisher flights due to fears of non-payment by the cash-strapped carrier, the sources said.
Meanwhile, Kingfisher continued efforts to raise funds with Mr. Mallya, Mr. Aggarwal and UB Group CFO Ravi Nedungadi meeting top officials of SBI in Mumbai on Friday. SBI leads the 13-bank consortium funding the beleaguered airline.
After releasing the second quarter results, Mr. Mallya had said the airline has sought help from banks to raise short- term funds to the tune of Rs 700—800 crore as working capital and interest concessions.
Concerned over the spate of cancellations, DGCA had recently issued notices to Kingfisher and later to SpiceJet and IndiGo for non-utilisation of slots allotted to them and not flying as per their approved winter schedule.
The DGCA chief had earlier warned that unused slots could be transferred to other airlines. Airlines are allotted slots as per their flight schedules approved by DGCA. They have to inform the regulator in advance if they plan not to use these slots in accordance with the laid down rules.