Airline has not moved them despite request from Airports Authority of India a month ago
More than a month after the Airports Authority of India (AAI) asked Kingfisher Airlines to remove its 10 grounded aircraft that are taking up space at Chennai airport, the aircraft are still there.
The debt-ridden airline stopped services in October last year. Back in 2008, Kingfisher used to operate 60 flights a day from Chennai. By mid-2012, this was down to 45 before operations stopped all together.
“Most of the aircraft Kingfisher has are on lease. After their financial crisis, the companies that own the aircraft want to take them back,” said an AAI official.
According to the official, a few companies have already deregistered their aircrafts with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and are making arrangements to take possession of them.
“The leasing companies here are very frustrated as they have struggled for several months to regain possession of their aircraft. The few who have deregistered the aircraft, are now repainting them,” said another official.
Earlier, AAI said Kingfisher owed it more than Rs. 300 crore. Chennai airport officials said that the airline had to pay the airport several lakhs in parking charges and rent for the hangar.
Airport director H.S. Suresh said, “We can’t just remove the aircraft, since the DGCA has instructed us to not penalise leasing companies for the airline’s fault. Of course, the airline has to clear its dues, which have been accumulating for several months now.”
Officials of Kingfisher Airlines refused to comment about the grounded aircrafts.
In February, the civil aviation ministry announced its decision to withdraw the International Bilateral Traffic Rights given to Kingfisher Airlines between 2008 and 2011. Until all dues are cleared, the airline will not be able to resume operations.
This article has been edited for a factual error.