Aviation regulator DGCA sealed the fate of debt-ridden carrier Kingfisher Airlines by suspending its licence to fly. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s suspension order stated the decision was taken after the airline failed to come up with a concrete plan of financial and operational revival.
Citing that the airline had not addressed “any of the issues” raised in its show-cause notice of October 5 and meetings with top officials, the DGCA suspended its permit to fly “till such time the Kingfisher Airlines submits a concrete and reliable revival plan ensuring safe, reliable, efficient and sustainable Scheduled Air Transport Services” to its satisfaction.
All flying operations, already grounded due to the lockout, will come to an immediate halt following the suspension, which also entails no more ticket bookings on the entire network as well and via travel agents. The suspension comes after a 3-week lockout in the airline. Kingfisher, which started in 2005, is saddled with losses of Rs 8,000 crore and debt of over Rs 7,524 crore, with owner and liquor baron Vijay Mallya desperately seeking a buyer to save it from collapsing.
The airline is also facing strikes by pilots and engineers since September 30, to protest against nonpayment of salaries since March. It currently has only 10 operational aircraft compared to 66 a year ago. Striking employees responded to the suspension with shock and dismay. However, some still remained hopeful, pinning their hopes on the airline’s owner.
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