Vijay Mallya-led Kingfisher Airlines is understood to have put close to 100 pilots, mostly trainees, on the chopping block on grounds of huge losses and capacity reduction.

These pilots have completed their probation and all endorsements, but the company has decided not to renew their service contracts in view of the huge losses and capacity reduction, sources told PTI here today.

Their contracts would not be renewed as and when they expire and hence the job cuts would be carried out in a phased manner, they said.

The pilots, who are planned to be phased out, belong to both Kingfisher and the erstwhile Air Deccan, the sources said, adding that they were grounded last year after the merger.

When contacted, a Kingfisher spokesperson denied “sacking” of any pilot. Such measures are “however inevitable due to the market conditions,” a company official said.

Incidentally, the salaries of these pilots were cut by nearly 80 per cent earlier this year, the sources said.

Kingfisher has reported a net loss of Rs 418.77 crore during the second quarter of this fiscal. Its income from operations also declined by 13.6 per cent during the quarter compared to the same period last year.

The airline also shows a debt of Rs 6,000 crore on its balance sheet, and has been facing cases of default filed in Mumbai and Delhi High Courts by Bharat Petroleum and Lufthansa’s engineering arm, Lufthansa Technik.

Following the financial crisis, the airline has returned 19 aircraft to the lessor over the last 10 months and reduced capacity by 17 per cent in the domestic market.

The company has incurred an EBITDA loss of Rs 336 crore, including losses and costs associated with the recent startup of new international routes, according to its financial results.

The company said that “certain technical issues also led to grounding of aircraft causing revenue loss and hence a negative impact on the bottom-line.”

While it suspended its operations on the Bangalore — London and Bangalore — Colombo routes, Kingfisher has started two new routes from Mumbai to Hong Kong and Singapore.

It also added Kolkata — Bangkok sector on its global route network.