Kingfisher lockout may be prolonged; DGCA files status report

Despite several bouts of meetings and persuasions by the management level, the workers at debt-laden Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) seem to be in no mood to relent.

Updated: Oct 04, 2012, 14:16 PM IST

Zeebiz Bureau

New Delhi: Despite several rounds of meetings and persuasions by the management, the employees at debt-laden Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) seem to be in no mood to relent.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Thursday filed its status report on KFA asking the airline to declare its future strategy.

Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh talking to reporters in the national capital said, “We need concrete plans from KFA on how they will operate.”

Singh also added, “Before KFA should follow all safety measures, they should satisfy the DGCA on the schedule list that they are giving before flying.”

He also said that security of the passengers must be ensured and the Airline should pass all the maintenance and security clearance.

Singh said the flight routes and the winter schedule- which comes in force by end of October- will also have to be looked into.

"In the winter schedule we have to consider all the routes and the landing spots. All these have to be considered afresh," he said.

Crisis at the beleaguered KFA has worsened as reconciliation talks between the management and the striking engineers and pilots over payment of seven-month salary dues failed with the protestors rejecting the offer of part-payment and vowing to continue their agitation.

KFA Chairman Vijay Mallya has however appealed the staff members to resume work and said that he can clear the salary backlog of only one month.

Sources said the management offered the March salary to the employees and promised to pay the remaining six months salary once the airline is recapitalised. This offer was rejected by the engineers and pilots.

Meanwhile KFA CEO Sanjay Agarwal and other top officials of the carrier held a meeting with engineers and pilots in Gurgaon today to convince them to join duty.

After meetings between various sections of Delhi-based employees and CEO Sanjay Agarwal and Executive Vice President Hitesh Patel, the employees said the talks "ended in a failure as there was no commitment made by management regarding payment of overdue salaries."

"The employees demanded payment of long pending salary (seven month) prior to resuming operations. All employees expressed their keenness to resume work provided their dues are cleared expeditiously," the statement said.

With no end to the deadlock, apprehensions are being raised over the airline's plans to resume operations from Friday, after a four-day partial lockout and complete suspension of all operations since Monday night.

Kingfisher has been saddled with a huge loss of over Rs 8,000 crore and a debt burden of over Rs 7,000 crore.

Over 80 pilots and 270 Kingfisher engineers have been on intermittent strikes over the past few months, primarily over delay in payment of salaries.

With PTI Inputs