Kingfisher vitually blames I-T dept for flight disruptions

 Beleaguered Kingfisher Airlines today virtually blamed the Income Tax authorities for the large-scale flight disruptions, saying freezing of its bank accounts by them had ''severely affected'' payment schedules that had led to the curtailment in its services.

"The prime reason for the current disruption in our flight schedules is the sudden attachment of our bank accounts by the I-T department. This has severely affected our ability to make operational payments leading to the present curtailment," an airline spokesperson said in a statement.

It said the employees' "salaries can be paid and the grounded aircraft can be recovered quicker once the bank accounts are unfrozen and the schedule restored on priority."

The spokesperson said the company was in talks with the I-T authorities "to agree (on) a payment plan and get the bank accounts unfrozen at the earliest. We are appealing to them to see reason that inconvenience to the travelling public is not in anybody's interests."

Kingfisher's CEO Sanjay Agarwal and top officials have been summoned by the DGCA to appear before them tomorrow to explain the large-scale disruptions in the operations of the cash-strapped carrier.

Over 30 flights were cancelled today, including those to Bangkok, Singapore, Kathmandu and Dhaka, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded at various airports across the country. About one-third of its flights were cancelled in six metros yesterday and similar disruption and delays were witnessed in Tier-II and III cities.

Ruling out any bailout to the airline, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said the government had recently "seized their bank accounts also. So our first concern is that flights which are ongoing, passenger safety should not be compromised and then let us see what reply they give. DGCA is inquiring into it."

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