Clearing staff dues not enough for Kingfisher to fly again: Ajit

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jan 23 2013, 06:41am hrs
Kingfisher Airlines would need infusion of Rs 1,000 crore, no-objection certificates from airport operators, including Airports Authority of India, and pay its employees before it can fly again, civil aviation minister Ajit Singh said on Tuesday.

I dont think clearing the salary dues of employees is enough for them to fly again, Singh told reporters on Tuesday. It would need the support of bankers also to fly again.

Kingfisher had approached the ministry of civil aviation with its revival plan after it had been rejected by civil aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation. But even the ministry is not satisfied with the revival plan. They have not yet furnished concrete details of their funding plans and how they will clear dues of all stakeholders, said Singh. Meanwhile, Kingfisher pilots have sent a notice to the management to clear salary due since June 2012, by January 31.

We have been waiting for too long and we had to take the legal route to get our dues back, said a Mumbai-based pilot with the grounded airline. We are also considering sending a winding up petition to the airline, but still need to decide on benefits of such a move.

Kingfisher hasnt paid its employees since June 2012. Engineers and pilots went on strike between October 1 and October 26, 2012. At the time, the airline hadnt paid its employees since March 2012. However, four months salaries were cleared after an agreement between the management and employees was reached to call-off the strike.

Last week, the airline produced no-objection certificates from oil companies and some aircraft lessors, but DGCA was not impressed. The airline owes R220 crore to the Airports Authority of India and the state-owned airport operator has decided to give away the airlines slots at various airports around the country.

On Friday, Kingfishers lenders also asked the promoters to bring in between R800 crore and R1,000 crore. Kingfisher, which has never posted a quarterly net profit has a debt burden of R8,633 crore as of September 30. The airline has accumalated losses of a similar order.

On Tuesday, Kingfisher share closed 7.18% higher on BSE at R14.48.