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Kingfisher fails to impress aviation cop

New Delhi, Jan. 16: Kingfisher Airlines today secured no-objection certificates (NoCs) from oil companies and some aircraft leasing firms to resume operations.

However, the airline failed to convince the civil aviation regulator about the efficacy of its revival plan, which lacked any funding details.

Kingfisher CEO Sanjay Aggarwal today met director-general of civil aviation Arun Mishra to apprise him of the NoCs, but sources said he was unable to give information about any long-term funding commitment by the airline’s parent UB Group.

Kingfisher also did not receive any NoC from airports to which it owes parking and bay charges.

Sources said Aggarwal told the regulator that Kingfisher would be ready to resume operations from April even though he admitted that the airline had not received NoCs from the airport operators, including the Airports Authority of India.

Today’s development comes days ahead of a meeting of the 17-bank consortium, which has lent over Rs 7,500 crore to the grounded airline. According to sources, the lenders are weighing legal action to retrieve the money.

The consortium has refused to infuse money into Kingfisher till the promoters bring in more funds. The airline was forced to suspend operations on October 11 and its licence expired on December 31.

Civil aviation minister Ajit Singh had expressed his dissatisfaction with the airline’s plan to invest Rs 650 crore as it might not guarantee efficient and reliable services.

“The revival plan had lots of issues regarding lenders and staff payment, which we felt may not lead to reliable services. With the kind of finances Kingfisher claims it has, it will be able to run the airline for not more than a few months,” Singh said.

The airline has not paid salaries and allowances to its staff for over eight months. Besides, it owes money to airport operators, oil firms and other vendors.

Kingfisher, which is estimated to owe $2.5 billion in debt to banks, staff and vendors, has submitted a $119-million revival plan to the regulator.

 
 
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