New Delhi, Oct. 20: After operating for nine years, Kingfisher Airlines today lost its licence to fly with aviation regulator DGCA suspending it with immediate effect, capping three weeks of lockout in the beleaguered carrier.
The directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) suspended the Scheduled Operator Permit (SOP) of Kingfisher Airlines following its failure to come up with a viable plan of financial and operational revival.
Noting 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 till such time it submitted a concrete revival plan.
“They were asked to submit their operational preparedness plan for resumption of operations. Instead, they have sought more time to file a reply to the show cause notice,” an official spokesperson said, adding this request was rejected.
“The DGCA has suspended the flying licence of Kingfisher Airline because of safety reasons,” civil aviation minister Ajit Singh said.
Singh said the planes were not being maintained and serviced by their engineers who were on strike. “Safety can’t be compromised.”
Suspension of flying licence implies an immediate halt to all flying operations, which in any case have been grounded since October 1 when the lockout was declared.
Kingfisher in a statement said, “We would like to clarify that this is not a cancellation but a temporary suspension which is valid only till such time that we submit a concrete and reliable revival plan to the satisfaction of the DGCA.
“We have in any case always maintained that once the issues with the employees are resolved, we will first present our resumption plan to DGCA for review, before resuming operations. We are now immediately suspending all forward bookings till such time we resume operations.”
Passengers will have to pay more during the festive season as flights are fewer and demand will rise. Kapil Arora, an aviation analyst with Ernst and Young, said,“The immediate impact on passengers would be a hike in fares with less number of seats available. Ironically, it will help the bottom-line of other airlines which are working.”
Analysts gave a very slim chance of Kingfisher Airlines taking to the skies again unless the promoters pump in money. “A turnaround is only possible when the promoters pump in a couple of thousand crores cash immediately,” they said.