KFA engineers firm on winding up petition, to send legal notice
Mumbai/New Delhi: Taking a tough posture against the management, Kingfisher Airlines engineers have decided to go ahead with the winding up petition in the Delhi High Court, sources said today.
The engineers' association which met in New Delhi today also decided to send a legal notice to the airline management next week.
"We have decided to proceed with the winding-up petition in the Delhi high court as the management is keeping silent on the issues we raised including payment of employees dues and details of recapitalisation plans," an association source told PTI.
The legal notice is likely to be served next week and would be followed by a winding-up petition, he said, adding today's meeting was to discuss the modalities of the legal recourse.
Meanwhile, a section of airline's former pilots have already sent a legal notice to the company seeking salaries within three weeks, failing which they would move ahead with a winding-up petition.
The ex-pilots have also threatened to file criminal proceedings against the airline management for not paying the income deducted from their salaries to the government.
The development comes even as the airline management has been trying to resume operations, as early as next month.
Last week the airline chairman Vijya Mallya had written to the employees that he would restart operations by the end of February with seven planes, even as he is looking for a foreign investor.
At a crucial meeting of the core group lenders here on January 18, the bankers said the management failed to come up with any fund infusion plan.
Yesterday, Pratip Chaudhuri, the Chairman of SBI, which has the single largest exposure of over Rs 1580 crore to the Bangalore-based carrier, said no revival will be possible unless the promoters bring in some Rs 2000 crore to the table upfront.
"The company has to bring capital of Rs 2,000 crore minimum, then there can be some possibility for revival...If the company doesn't want to fly, what can banks do?" Chaudhuri said.
Kingfisher has 17 consortium lenders apart from some individual banks like Central Bank which also lent about Rs 430 crore to the airline outside the consortium.
The core lenders group is led by State Bank and has PNB, BoB, Bank of India and IDBI Bank as other members.
Kingfisher owes over Rs 7,500 crore and one-year's accrued interest to 17 banks.
The airline, which never reported a profit since inception in May 2005, had vendor/airport and salary dues to the tune of around Rs 1,800 crore, apart from over Rs 7,500 crore in bank debt and over Rs 8,000 crore in accumulated losses.
The lenders also categorically ruled out any fresh loans or restructuring the existing loans, which has not been serviced by the company since last January, without the above-said fresh capital infusion by the airline management.
It can be noted that at the last meeting held on December 17, the airline had told the lenders that the promoters would bring in Rs 650 crore as part of its revival plan.
The last meeting had also constituted a core group of lenders under the leadership of SBI, which had substandard exposure of 1,580 crore to the airline.
Kingfisher was grounded since October 1, following a staff strike seeking salaries, which have not been paid for the past eight months.
Following this the regulator DGCA suspended the flying licence of the carrier on October 20 and by December 31, the same was cancelled. However, under the civil aviation rules, the airline can get back the licence within two years.
Earlier this month, Mallya told the harried employees that he would resume operations by the end of February with seven planes but he failed to convince the DGCA of his revival plan.
Even a claimed NOC from oil suppliers and aircraft lessors failed to get the DGCA on-board as the regulator also demanded an NOC from the lenders to revive the flying licence.