The Telegraph
Wednesday , June 27 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
CIMA Gallary

Double trouble for Mallya airline

New Delhi/Mumbai, June 26: Mass resignation by engineers and confiscation of aircraft by lessors have piled on the agony of cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines.

With the Vijay Mallya-led private carrier defaulting on lease rentals of around Rs 1,000 crore, the lessors have taken back 34 aircraft, sources said today even as the company maintained that it had returned the aircraft voluntarily.

Meanwhile, about 80 engineers have quit in the past four months because of the non-payment of salaries.

Another 15 aircraft of the company are grounded because of the lack of spares. The airline is left with 15 planes to carry on operations.

“Lessors have taken back as many as 34 aircraft from Kingfisher between March and June, owing to non-payment of lease rentals, which stand at around Rs 1,000 crore,” sources said.

Kingfisher, however, said it had returned these aircraft voluntarily, and that no aircraft was taken back by lessors by “force”.

Meanwhile, sources said the airline was finding it tough to continue its domestic operations because of a dearth of engineers for maintaining its aircraft.

“Some 60-80 engineers have already quit the carrier in the last four to five months as they could not sustain non-payment of salaries. And more are planning to do so,” airline sources said.

“We are losing employees to other airlines. The airline has not been able to pay salaries let alone give incentives,” said an official at the airline.