Ailing Kingfisher files fresh flight schedule before DGCA

Ailing Kingfisher files fresh flight schedule before DGCA

Ailing Kingfisher Airlines, whose services remained affected for the sixth day, today filed a fresh flight schedule with DGCA, scaling down its operations to about 170 daily flights with 28 functional aircraft.

Faced with the regulators deadline, the airline submitted a revised winter schedule of flights it would operate till March. This schedule is being examined, DGCA sources said.

On a day when over 30 flights were cancelled by Kingfisher, DGCA chief E K Bharat Bhushan briefed Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh on the tough financial situation faced by the carrier.

With reports that banks were offering to help out the airline, the Minister again made it clear that government would not give any dole to a private carrier.

"We have made it clear and I am sure Mr (Vijay) Mallya knows that Air India is a government concern. Whatever help we give them (Air India), we cannot do it to any private industry.
"We have said it before that banks will decide that (pumping in money). Government is not going to interfere in it. Banks have to follow RBI guidelines. They have to worry about their NPAs (non-performing assets). They have to decide on the basis of the business plan of the company. If they are satisfied with the business plan, they can lend money," he said.

Sources said that as per the revised schedule, the airline would operate about 170 flights daily, instead of over 400 it had sought permission for last October when the winter schedule for the airlines came into operation.

At that time, Kingfisher had informed the regulator that it would fly 64 aircraft, a number which has now come down to 28 as many of its planes have either been taken away by the lessors or were awaiting repairs and spare parts or been cannibalised.

The DGCA, which summoned the Kingfisher's CEO Sanjay Agarwal yesterday, had asked the airline to come up with a "realistic" schedule which can be operated by 28 planes.

Bhushan is understood to have apprised the Civil Aviation Minister on the discussions he had with the Kingfisher top brass and the airline's plan to restore its flight schedule over the next few days.

Issues relating to whether any action could be taken against the struggling carrier for flouting the provisions of Aircraft Rules of 1937 are also understood to have come up for discussion, though the Minister has made it clear that closure of any airline would not be good for the health of the Indian aviation industry.

Kingfisher also partially resumed flights from Kolkata, operating four to the Northeast, though it cancelled 14 from Mumbai, eight from Bangalore and two from Delhi. The entire Kolkata operations were shut down from Friday night.

The cash-strapped carrier had faced the wrath of the Income Tax authorities which froze its bank accounts, which, the airline said had been primarily responsible for large- scale disruption of its flights.

Kingfisher, which suffered a loss of Rs 1,027 crore in 2010-11 and has a debt of Rs 7,057.08 crore, posted a Rs 444 crore loss in third quarter this fiscal.