A staff member sits in front of a closed Kingfisher Airlines ticket counter at the Calcutta airport on Wednesday. (Reuters)
New Delhi, Oct. 3: Kingfisher Airlines may not be able to resume operations on Friday with the management failing to give any commitment on the payment of salaries.
Vijay Mallya-owned Kingfisher had declared a four-day partial lockout and a suspension of all operations on Monday night following a strike by engineers and pilots over salaries.
“The talks have failed as the management told us that they do not have the money to pay our salaries. Hence, our agitation will continue. Kingfisher flights from at least Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore will not be allowed to take off,” Captain Vikrant Patkar, a Mumbai-based pilot, said after a meeting with the management in Mumbai.
More than 500 employees, including pilots and engineers, are on strike demanding immediate payment of salaries that are due for seven months.
With the talks hitting an impasse, the airline is unlikely to restart operations by October 5. Kingfisher CEO Sanjay Aggarwal had assured the aviation regulator that they would hold meetings with various sections of the staff to end the strike.
Meanwhile, civil aviation minister Ajit Singh today said Kingfisher Airlines would have to seek the DGCA’s nod before resuming operations.
“Passengers’ safety cannot be compromised. They will be allowed to fly only if the DGCA gives a go-ahead,” Singh said.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has told the crisis-ridden airline to submit a report on the airworthiness of its aircraft before resuming operations, Singh told reporters here.
The DGCA insists that Kingfisher should not be allowed to start operations till all safety norms are met and its engineers certify the aircraft.
The airline will have to submit a new schedule and provide a sustainable operation plan.
According to ministry sources, the DGCA as well as Singh’s office have requested the airline to pay salaries and give a complete report as well as an “acceptable and workable recovery plan”, failing which the carrier may be forced to “indefinitely ground” the airline.