Kingfisher Airlines’ Lenders To Meet Next Week After Diwali

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Lenders to Kingfisher Airlines are likely to meet next week, probably after Diwali, to discuss the situation at the airline, sources told NDTV Profit. The airline’s chairman, liquor baron Vijay Mallya, has been asked to table a concrete revival plan then, the sources added.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had suspended the airline’s licence on October 20 after the carrier failed to present a viable revival plan after a crippling staff strike left it unable to operate a single flight from October 1. The debt-laden carrier’s engineers and pilots had gone on strike on September 30 over non-payment of salaries.

The airline’s licence is valid only till December 31, and can be extended only when the suspension is not in force.

The airline’s management late last month presented a plan for payment of salaries, according to which the airline would make a staggered payment of three months’ salaries before Diwali. The airline has so far paid salaries for March and April. The salary for May is to be paid before Diwali, which is next week.

Later in the month, Mr. Mallya met Aviation Secretary K.N. Srivastava on the status of the airline’s plan to resume operations.

“I briefed the secretary on the status of revival and restart plan and it’s going to be totally comprehensive,” Mr. Mallya said.

“We will present it soon. No time-frame has been specified,” the airline’s CEO, Sanjay Aggarwal, said.

A spokesperson for Kingfisher Airlines today said the company was working on a comprehensive revival plan, which will be given to the DGCA in the next few weeks.

“We are working on a comprehensive plan which will address the interests of all stakeholders and this will be submitted to DGCA,” the spokesperson said.

Kingfisher’s plan is likely to be submitted to the DGCA in the next few weeks, PTI reported, citing airline sources. Flights can recommence only after the regulator is convinced that the airline can indeed provide safe and sustainable operations, the report added. Once Kingfisher has submitted the plan, the DGCA will hold consultations with airport operators, oil companies and other agencies the airline owes money to before giving it a clearance to fly again.

The government is concerned about how the cash-strapped carrier will pay its dues to its service providers, including airport operators, aircraft lessors and oil companies.

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