The doors are finally going to be shut on the defunct Kingfisher Airlines as the two-year term to renew its Air Operator Permit expires on December 31 midnight.
The Vijay Mallya promoted full service carrier is grounded since October 2012, and lost its flying license on December 31, 2012 following refusal by the civil aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to renew it after the airline management failed to come up with a “satisfactory” plan of operations.
The airline, however, was given a two-year time to get its license renewed, which expires on December 31, 2014.
“Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) AOP will finally lapse on December 31 which means the company will have to apply afresh for flying permit, if it wants to fly again,” a senior DGCA official said.
He, however, said that securing an AOP involves a number of regulatory approvals from aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), no-objection certificates from civil aviation and other ministries, security clearances for the top management team of the proposed airline from home ministry as well as comments and suggestions from various stake holders.
It is a co-incidence that Kingfisher Airlines’ AOP will lapse in the same month in which Tata-SIA’s joint venture full service carrier Vistara secured its scheduled operator permit.
According to sources, the beleaguered airline still has 2,000 employees on its roll who, including former staffers who have quit the airline during this period, have not got their salaries since September 2012.
The airline, launched by industrialist Vijay Mallya in May 2005, stopped its operations on October 1, 2012 after its pilots refused to fly for non-payment of salaries.
When the carrier failed to resume operations till October 20, the DGCA suspended its flying license and finally cancelled it on December 31, 2012, after it expired. But the airline had two year time to get it renewed.
KFA owes around Rs 7,600 crore in principal and interest accrued since January 2012 to the 17 lenders, besides dues towards other service providers and its employees.
The 17-bank consortium includes the SBI, IDBI, PNB, UBI Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Central Bank of India and UCO Bank among others.
While United Bank of India had declared Mallya as a “wilful defaulter”, in its bid to recover its dues which stand around Rs 430 crore, the Calcutta High Court rejected the Bank’s decision.
According to RBI norms, a wilful defaulter is a person or company who deliberately doesn’t honour debt commitments to lenders.