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Monday 16 July 2012

Kingfisher pilot strike leaves 40 flights cancelled


Close to 40  Kingfisher flights were cancelled  due to a strike by pilots to protest non-payment of wages for almost five months.

Three flights from Mumbai and several across the airline’s entire network were cancelled.

An airlines spokesperson said, “A certain section of employees have decided to stay away from duties due to salary payments not being credited to the bank accounts of all employees by Friday. Kingfisher wishes to state that more than 75 percent of employees have actually received their promised salaries on Friday”.

Three flights from Mumbai and several across the airline’s entire network were cancelled.
“We have further promised that the balance of our employees will receive their salaries by Monday”, the spokesman said.

The passengers booked on these flights have either been re-booked or given refunds, he said.

This is the third time in the last 12 days that the pilots have struck work. The earlier strike on 11 July saw 12 flights getting cancelled.

The strike on 2 July was called off after a few hours with the management promising to pay some sections of staff from 6 July.

Kingfisher is, at present, carrying out truncated domestic and international operations with about 15 aircraft, in place of 64.

A large number of its flight engineers have reportedly quit over the past five months, primarily due to delayed payments. In April, around 200 engineers reported sick as a mark of protest over the issue.

The airline, which has not posted profit since inception in May 2005, has reported a loss of Rs 1,151.50 crore in the March quarter, has a debt of over Rs 7,500 crore and almost an equal amount of accumulated losses.

Kingfisher Airlines chief, chairman Vijay Mallya today appealing in a letter to the carrier's striking pilots called on them to "work together to restore Kingfisher to its rightful place in the Aviation industry".

"I really hope that good sense will prevail. I am doing my best. If some of you think that cancelling flights, speaking to media, or disgracing our company will produce cash and salaries, you are wrong. This only makes my recapitalisation efforts more difficult by causing concern and apprehension among our potential investors," Mallya wrote.

"One of the main reasons that has motivated me into investing more money to keep Kingfisher flying is that I see light ahead," the letter said

A section of debt-ridden airlines' pilots struck work over non-payment of salaries and other dues for the past five months, that led to cancellation of 40 flights across its network, according to an airline official.

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