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Kingfisher Airlines loses flying licence

Last Updated: Monday, December 31, 2012 - 21:34

New Delhi: Flying permit of Kingfisher Airlines, which has been suspended by aviation regulator DGCA, expires Monday, but rules allow that it can be renewed within two years.

The beleaguered carrier has submitted a revival plan to Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which has asked for more details regarding how it would fund the plan given the precarious financial situation the company is in.

"We have not taken any decision as yet on Kingfisher's licence. We are waiting for more details," highly-placed DGCA sources said, adding there is "nothing concrete on the table as of now" as far as Kingfisher's revival plan is concerned.

While its lessors and service providers like Airports Authority of India (AAI) are insisting that the airline should not be allowed to fly till it clears all dues to them, airline sources say as per DGCA rules, they have a two-year window to renew the Scheduled Operator's Permit (SOP).

SOP was suspended on October 20, capping three weeks of lockout in the cash-strapped carrier preceded by a strike by its employees demanding payment of salaries.

Kingfisher is saddled with a loss of Rs 8,000 crore and a debt burden of another over Rs 7,524 crore.

It was issued an airline licence on August 26, 2003, which was actually in the name of Air Deccan that was bought over by the liquor baron Vijay Mallya-owned carrier. This licence is valid till today.

Kingfisher CEO Sanjay Aggarwal had informed DGCA chief Arun Mishra that the airline would require about Rs 652 crore over the next 12 months to run its operations and the amount would be put in by its parent company UB Group. Of this, Rs 120 crore would be needed to meet salary arrears.

However, there has been no word from the UB Group as to how it would commit the funding and raise it from where. Banks have been unwilling to fund the airline.

The airline, however, in a statement issued late evening here on Monday, said despite the impending expiry of its flying license tonight, there is no cause for concern due to a two-year window available to the carrier.

"Despite the impending expiry of its (flying) license tonight, there is no cause for concern as the regulations permit license renewal within two years of expiry," the statement said.

Stating that Kingfisher Airlines has already applied for renewal of its license as a scheduled carrier and also has subsequently submitted a restart and rehabilitation plan to the regulator, it said. "The plan itself clearly states that the funding required would be provided by the UB Group," the statement said.

The DGCA has asked for certain no-objection letters, which are in the process of being procured, while a few additional questions have been raised, which will be answered to the regulator's satisfaction, the airline said.

The airline is confident of securing approval from the DGCA on the restart plan, its license approval and reinstatement of its Air Operator Permit (AOP), the statement added.


First Published: Monday, December 31, 2012 - 15:09
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