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As Kingfisher misses wage date, pilots strike work and over 30 flights are dropped

New Delhi/Mumbai, Jul 14 (PTI): Kingfisher Airlines' schedule was disrupted on Saturday with cancellation of over 30 flights as its pilots struck work to protest non-payment of wages for almost five months.

At least 12 flights out of Delhi, 18 from Bangalore and four from Mumbai, besides several others from other cities, were cancelled.

The flights cancelled from Delhi included those to Mumbai, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Kullu, Jaipur and Shimla, while those from Bangalore included services to Chennai, Mangalore, Mumbai, Delhi, Hubli, Goa and Pune.

During recent talks, Kingfisher management had promised the pilots, who did not report to work on July 11 and 12, that their salaries would be paid by Friday but failed to keep their promise, a pilot said on condition of anonymity.

An airlines spokesperson said, “A certain section of employees have decided to stay away from duties due to salary payments not being credited to the bank accounts of all employees by Friday. Kingfisher wishes to state that more than 75 per cent of employees have actually received their promised salaries on Friday”.

”We have further promised that the balance of our employees will receive their salaries by Monday”, the spokesman said.

The passengers booked on these flights have either been re-booked on other flights or given refunds, he said.

This is the third time in the last twelve days that the pilots have struck work. The earlier strike on July 11 saw 12 flights getting cancelled.

The strike on July 2 was called off after a few hours with the management promising to pay some sections of staff from July 6.

Kingfisher is, at present, carrying out truncated domestic and international operations with about 15 aircraft, in place of 64.

A large number of its flight engineers have reportedly quit over the past five months, primarily due to delayed payments. In April, around 200 engineers reported sick as a mark of protest over the issue.

The airline, which has not posted profit since inception in May 2005, has reported a loss of Rs 1,151.50 crore in the March quarter, has a debt of over Rs 7,500 crore and almost an equal amount of accumulated losses.