Protesting employees have, however, hardened their stance
Blaming a small section of employees for disrupting normal operations, Kingfisher Airlines, on Tuesday, assured the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) that it would start payment of salaries within the next few days and restore normal operations soon.
The airline had, on Monday, declared a partial lock-out till October 4 after it was faced with a strike by engineers and pilots. On Tuesday, Kingfisher CEO Sanjay Aggarwal and Executive Vice-President Hitesh Patel met DGCA chief Arun Mishra and laid out their plans for the future to restore normal operations.
They reportedly told the DGCA that the strike by a section of employees had disrupted the flight schedule and the airline had stopped sale of tickets for the present.
“We have shared the steps which we are going to take in the next few days with the DGCA. We have explained our position to the DGCA. We will clear the pending salaries in the next few days. I myself have not got the salary,’’ Mr. Aggarwal told reporters after the meeting with the DGCA.
Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh, on Tuesday, said the airline would not be allowed to fly if safety of the passengers was compromised.
“We will have to look at what their plans and then we will take a decision after reviewing the situation,’’ he added.
“The company would not be allowed to fly an aircraft till it had been certificated for safety by the engineers, Mr. Ajit Singh said.
The airline’s many aircraft have been either taken away by its lessors or grounded in the past few months. Over 80 pilots and 270 engineers have been on intermittent strikes over the past few months, protesting against non-payment of salaries since March.
DGCA officials said that Kingfisher conveyed that they would seek to resume normal operations from Friday but the DGCA would first fully satisfy itself about the safety aspect before allowing the airline to fly.
Airline threatens legal action
Meanwhile, protesting employees have hardened their stance and said they would report to duty only after their salaries were paid. Engineers from Chennai had joined their Mumbai and Delhi counterparts to press for their cause. Kingfisher Airlines, while declaring a partial lock-out on Tuesday morning, put the whole blame on a section of ‘intimidating’ employees. It has also threatened legal action.
“The company is left with no other option but to take firm and decisive steps as advised in law to bring the situation under control. Before commencing the legal action, the company will make efforts to continue to engage with these recalcitrant employees to persuade them to cease and desist from intimidating and threatening others,” Kingfisher Airlines said in a statement.