Kingfisher Airlines may apply for restarting ops by Feb end

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jan 17 2013, 08:35am hrs
The grounded Kingfisher Airlines aims to apply for restarting operations by the end of February after having received no-objection certificates (NOCs) from oil companies and some of the lessors, sources in the company and the aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation said Wednesday.

Kingfisher's CEO Sanjay Aggarwal met Arun Mishra, director general of civil aviation, on Wednesday. They have made seven ATR turbo propeller aircraft ready for inspection and claim that they have pilots for the same, said a senior DGCA official. They are also saying that the oil companies and some lessors have given an NOC to their flying plan. However, till they get approvals from the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Delhi and Mumbai airports, their licence stands expired. They plan to start again in summer schedule 2013 which begins in April, the official added.

The airline had R341 crore of dues to HPCL. HPCL had invoked bank guarantees of R434 crore in October 2012 to clear its dues. BPCL supplied fuel to the airline on a cash-and-carry basis wherein the airline had to pay first before buying fuel. Indian Oil Corporation had negligible sales to the airline.

It could not be immediately confirmed with the airline's lessors whether an NOC has been given. Kingfisher owes R220 crore to AAI.

On January 10, chairman Vijay Mallya told his employees that the airline will fly again in summer 2013. The limited restart plan, which we target for the beginning of the 2013 summer schedule requires funding of approximately R650 crore, which is committed to be provided by the UB Group and associates, Mallya had written in a letter to his employees.

Out of R650 crore, around R120 crore was kept aside for payment of employee salaries.

However, even at Wednesday's meeting, Aggarwal failed to provide details on the funding required by the airline.

Aggarwal's meeting with DGCA came days ahead of a lenders meeting which is scheduled to be held on Friday.

On Wednesday, Kingfisher's shares jumped 6% on news of the airline receiving NOCs from oil companies. However, the shares ended the day 1.63% higher on the BSE at Rs 14.30.