Kingfisher suspends flights to many cities, asks staff to stay home

Kingfisher Airlines Tuesday suspended operations to several cities as per a new holding plan and asked the staff to stay home till the time it manages fresh funding.

“We are in a ‘holding’ pattern right now and are waiting for various decisions from the government and our Consortium of Bankers on FDI (foreign direct investment) policy, working capital funding, etc.

“All of these will have a major impact on the staffing decisions we will have to make,” Kingfisher said in a statement, responding to speculations that the airline was going to lay off a large number of its staff.

The airline did not specify the cities where the operations had been suspended.

The airline said it had taken care to ensure that part of “our core inter-metro schedule is retained, while connectivity is maintained to many cities where we are the sole operator”.

The airline claimed that it had started the summer schedule with about 120 daily flights and 20 dedicated aircraft.

The airline’s international operations have already been suspended after the International Transport Association barred the carrier from its inter-airline clearing house and billing and settlement plan accounts March 9 on account of non-payment of dues – a move akin to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) removing a commercial bank from its currency clearing system.

The government last week said it will not come to the private airline’s rescue if legal action is taken against it following the aviation regulator’s report on the carrier’s operational capability and flight safety.

The aviation watchdog, the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation, had earlier threatened to cancel the flying permit saying the airline was not maintaining schedules.

Kingfisher has a debt of Rs.7,057.08 crore. Its net loss widened to Rs.444.27 crore for the quarter ended Dec 31, 2011, from Rs.253.69 crore in the October-December quarter in the last fiscal.

The carrier said it had paid Rs.44 crore towards TDS (tax deducted at source) dues, the deadline for which was March 27.(IANS)