Strike called off, Kingfisher to fly again next month

Strike called off, Kingfisher to fly again next month

Strike called off, Kingfisher to fly again next month

Employees of Kingfisher Airlines Thursday came to a wage settlement with the management, which hoped its grounded fleet would be flying again by next month.

The agreement was reached after the management assured the employees payment of four months' pending salaries before the year-end, ending the 25-day strike at the cash-strapped carrier.

The company's top brass met the pilots in the morning and the ground handling and engineering staff later in the day to persuade them to return to work at the earliest. "We have reached an agreement with the management on the salary issue. We will join back work immediately," Satish Chandra Mishra, an aircraft service engineer, told reporters here.

"We will recive our first pay for the month of March today, followed by April's salary on Oct 31 and then May's pay by Diwali. Our fourth month's pay (June) will be given by year end sometime in December," Mishra said.

Chief Executive Sanjay Aggarwal said, "We have addressed all the concerns of the employees. We are all together in this." "We expect to be in the sky (operations) soon and put forth our case to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)," Aggarwal told reporters at the Indira Gandhi International Airport's Terminal-3 (T3).

The airline is desperately trying to stay afloat and wants to restart operations, crippled since Oct 1 by the strike and subsequent lockout and suspension of its flying license by the regulator.

Currently, the airline has only 10 operational aircraft from a strength of around 66 planes a year ago. The airline will now prepare a new revival plan and present it to the DGCA, which will take a final call on revoking the suspension order.

Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh had earlier said that the decision to allow Kingfisher to fly again will depend on the revival plan. "They (Kingfisher Airlines) have to submit a plan in which they have to show us how will they restart operations, pay their employees and keep safety the top priority," Singh has said.

Mishra further said that the employees will not stage any protest against the airline's chairman Vijay Mallya during the upcoming Indian Grand Prix. The employees went on a flash strike Oct 1 demanding payment of salaries by Oct 5, which have been pending since March. They also claimed that non-payment of salaries has affected their morale and built up stress levels that can also affect operational safety.

Key personnel like aircraft maintenance engineers, whose airworthiness clearance is mandatory for any flight to take off, also struck work.

The Kingfisher scrip at the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) Thursday was up 4.81 percent and touched the upper circuit limit of Rs.10.90 per share from its previous close at Rs.10.40.

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