Says its aircraft were not being maintained or serviced since its engineers went on strike from September 29

The safety of passengers cannot be compromised at any cost and the crisis-ridden Kingfisher Airlines would not be allowed to take wings again till it satisfied the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on safe flight operations, besides ensuring that its employees were not harassed, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh told journalists here on Saturday.

The DGCA suspended the licence of Kingfisher as its aircraft were not being maintained or serviced since its engineers went on strike from September 29, Mr. Singh said.

The DGCA had disapproved the flight schedule of the beleaguered airlines in the coming winter schedule, which begins on October 28 and goes on until March 31.

Heavy loss, debt burden

Asked about allotment of Kingfisher’s slot to other airlines, he said he presumed that these would be allotted to other carriers. The airline was saddled with a loss of Rs. 8,000 crore and a debt burden of another Rs. 7,524 crore-plus. It has only 10 operational aircraft now, compared to 66 a year ago.

The airlines said in a statement: “The actual position has not changed because of this order. We have maintained that once the issues with the employees are resolved, we will present our resumption plan to DGCA for review, before resuming operations. Notwithstanding the order, we had suspended operations and closed forward bookings till November 6, 2012. The management has already communicated to all stakeholders this very position. We are now immediately suspending all forward bookings …. It is our endeavour to restart operations at the earliest.”

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