Kingfisher mulls job cuts, longer work-hours

Kingfisher mulls job cuts, longer work-hours

In a major cost-cutting exercise, private sector air-carrier Kingfisher Airlines is believed to be considering about 2,000 job cuts and longer working hours for its staff, among various options.

While e-mailed queries sent to Kingfisher Airlines in this regard remained unanswered, industry sources said the debt-ridden carrier could also abstain from any major hiring activities at least till August 2012.

Sources said the carrier is looking at about 2,000 job reductions by July and the exercise could affect various positions at mid-manager level in its corporate offices and also at cabin crew and attendant levels, among others.

At the same time, the airline, a part of Vijay Mallya-led UB group, could also consider increasing the working hours of staff being retained.

It would pay higher incentives and allowances to the staff working longer hours, but the move could still help it cut employee expenses drastically as costs could be double for hiring fresh employees, sources said.

However, the exact financial implications of these proposed initiatives could not be ascertained immediately.

The airline is already said to be witnessing some attrition and recently it was reported that some of its air hostesses have left to join state-run Air India.

Kingfisher's total employee cost dipped marginally by two per cent in the last fiscal 2010-11, to Rs 676 crore.

Its total headcount stood at 7,317 as on March 31, 2011, down from an average of 7,681 employees in the previous year ending March 2010. The airline's employees per aircraft ratio had declined in line with its fleet rationalization programmes.

Late last year, Kingfisher announced various business rationalisation initiatives, including phasing out of its low-cost service Kingfisher Red and reconfiguration of its fleet.

The airline has been under pressure from its huge debts, besides increased expenses associated with the fuel costs and those related to its operations, and had also restructured its loans last year to lower costs.

It is also said to be in talks with banks and some potential investors for fresh funds.
Last month, the government had informed Parliament that Kingfisher Airlines has an outstanding loan of about Rs 6,419 crore, and the lenders include SBI, IDBI Bank, Punjab National Bank, Bank of India and Bank of Baroda.

Kingfisher reported a net loss of Rs 469 crore for the July-September quarter of the current fiscal, though its revenue rose by 10.2 per cent to Rs 1,528 crore. In the last fiscal ended March 31, 2011, it posted a loss of more than Rs 1,000 crore.

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