Kingfisher crisis: Vijay Mallya steps in, meets Civil Aviation Secy

Kingfisher crisis: Vijay Mallya steps in, meets Civil Aviation Secy New Delhi: Ahead of submitting a revival plan to aviation regulator DGCA, Kingfisher Airlines Chairman Vijay Mallya Tuesday met Civil Aviation Secretary K N Shrivastava and briefed him about the steps being taken to revive the beleaguered carrier.

Mallya is understood to have been asked by Shrivastava about the plans to pay off the debts and dues to various vendors, including Airports Authority of India (AAI) which has asked it to vacate two hangars at Kolkata and Chennai airports as it owes the state-run airports body Rs 293 crore.

"I have briefed him on revival and restart plan. It would be a comprehensive plan. All hurdles will be crossed," Mallya told reporters after the meeting.

The meeting between UB Group chief and the Secretary, the first since the airline got into regulatory trouble, lasted 30 minutes, official sources said.

Kingfisher is expected to apply to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for revocation of suspension of its Scheduled Operator's Permit (SOP) or flying license in a few weeks.

For this, it has to submit to DGCA a comprehensive financial and operational plan to revive the airline and its operations, after an over three week impasse with its employees since September 30, who struck work demanding payment of overdue salaries. The strike was followed by a lockout that was lifted on October 25.

The services of Kingfisher can be restored only after the DGCA is convinced that the carrier can provide safe and sustainable operations.

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

The airline is likely to face more trouble soon with the Revenue Department deciding to move the Supreme Court to expedite recovery of tax dues worth about Rs 330 crore.

A special leave petition is to be filed jointly by the Income Tax and Service Tax departments to apprise the apex court "of the magnitude of pending dues to the government" and seek vacation of a September 26 Karnataka High Court order restraining the I-T department from making "further recovery".

Following the High Court order, the I-T department had lifted its attachment orders on the airline's bank accounts.

While the I-T department dues stand at around Rs 269 crore, the airline owes Rs 60 crore to Service Tax department.

Kingfisher is saddled with a loss of Rs 8,000 crore and a debt burden of an additional over Rs 7,524 crore, a large part of which has not been serviced for several months.

PTI