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Kingfisher Airlines debacle: Dr Vijay Mallya abroad, son Siddharth hunts for calendar girls, employees in lurch :(

Kingfisher Airlines debacle: Dr Vijay Mallya abroad,  son  Shri Siddharth Mallya  hunts for calendar girls, employees in lurch   :(

When the bad times came upon Kingfishr , its founder — the king of good times Dr Vijay Mallya — was nowhere to be seen or heard.

All his personal staff was willing to say was that "VJM (his nickname) is abroad", while employees were speculating him to be in London.

While the aviation ministry had made it very clear in the past few days that it will get DGCA to suspend KFA's licence, Mallya did not come calling on either aviation minister Ajit Singh or his powerful aide Prabhat Kumar to avert this fate. "VJM left India about 20 days back on his personal plane. He travels on his personal jet, VT-VJM, and as of now there is no news of his coming back to the country," said sources.

Employees keeping track of VJM say he was last 'spotted' at South Korea's Yeongam attending the Korean Grand Prix. The F-1 team co-owned by him and Sahara India was participating there.

'Girl hunt'

Son Sidhartha Mallya — for whom Kingfisher was his 18th birthday gift from a doting dad — was oblivious of the agony of his unpaid employees.

On Friday, when the die of the licence getting suspended was cast, he tweeted: "Guys check out the 1st promo for The Hunt For The Kingfisher Calendar Girl 2013 featuring your truly." And a day earlier, he tweeted his position: "Nothing beats the post 5oclock pub rush in atmosphere ever!! Love being bk here....sometimes wonder why I ever left...."

While the airline has been facing major trouble since September-end and is grounded from October 1, some of his sample tweets are: "Just spent the morning playing volleyball with 12 bikini clad models on the I understand why people hate me. HA!" Or this: "Have been fortunate enough to attend GP races all over the globe....Korea is by far the worse. Feeling for everyone who's there...."

KFA employees are speculating that Mallya senior may be in Delhi next weekend for the Greater Noida Grand Prix. They are planning to protest non-payment of wages since March and are particularly upset at the suicide committed by a colleague's wife in Delhi recently due to financial woes.

Mallya's private plane will continue to fly

The airline's licence may have been suspended, but Kingfisher promoter Vijay Mallya will still continue to globetrot in his personal Airbus Corporate Jet (ACJ) which is registered after his name as VT-VJM. He had two flying licences, a schedule operator permit for Kingfisher Airlines, which is now suspended, and a non schedule operator permit under which his super luxury 22-seater Airbus A-319 ACJ flies.

Since the latter is still valid, Mallya is unlikely to be seen in commercial flights of rival airlines. A senior airline commander said a set of six Pilots and about four airhostesses is maintained for the ACJ.

While Kingfisher Pilots and other employees have not been paid since March, the personnel for Mallya's personal plane are learnt to have been paid regularly or at least the $-250 daily allowance they get when abroad with the chairman.

 "Recently some other airline pilots had a fight with the exclusive group which flies VT-VJM over why are they flying when their colleagues aren't? The latter replied that even if the airline is shut down, they will have their job as the personal aircraft would still be needed for UB Group top brass and the chairman," said a pilot.

'Ready to become auto driver'

A pall of gloom has enveloped the world of the employees of Kingfisher Airlines after its flying licence was suspended. Those who had made several investments when the going was good are now reeling under debts, having not been paid salaries since March. Some are in a desperate hunt for jobs elsewhere.

"I was forced to change my children's school as I could not afford the fees of their earlier school. I have taken a loan of Rs 5 lakh from my father-in-law and another Rs 10 lakh from the bank. Now, I am at an absolute loss. I think I will go back to my village," said Hardayal Singh, a technician with KFA. Singh is a resident of Bihar, but was supposed to stay back to see how the crisis unfolded. But now, fearing people will start badgering him to return his loans, he wants to escape.

Many say the recent suicide by a staffer's wife in Delhi will soon be replicated by more. With the aviation market in the blues, jobs are extremely hard to come by. But some are still in the hunt. "I have waited long enough for the airline to recover. Now it's my family at stake. I can't feed or clothe my children. Our landlord threw us out in September and we have been living with my brother-in-law's family in a cramped two room house. I am sending my wide and children back to my village in UP and will hunt for another job, even if it means becoming an auto driver," said Mahesh Verma, another engineer.

India Suspends Kingfisher Airlines' License Amid Strike
The regulator's move adds pressure on Kingfisher Chairman Vijay Mallya as he seeks investments for his airline, which is struggling with 86 billion rupees ($1.6 billion) of debt after five consecutive years of losses. The carrier extended its flight ...
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Kingfisher Airlines debacle: Mallya abroad, son hunts for calendar girls ...
Times of India
On Friday, when the die of the licence getting suspended was cast, he tweeted: "Guys check out the 1st promo for The Hunt For The Kingfisher Calendar Girl 2013 featuring your truly." And a day earlier, he tweeted his position: "Nothing beats the post ...
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Kingfisher crash may push airfares up by 10%
Times of India
NEW DELHI: If you thought airfares were already too high, get ready to see them soar even higher. The suspension of Kingfisher Airline's licence will mean fewer seats in the market and in the coming festival and holiday season, other airlines ...
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India Suspends Kingfisher Airlines' License
Wall Street Journal
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Wall Street Journal
India suspends Kingfisher Airlines' licence
Controlled by Vijay Mallya - the self-styled "King of Good Times" - and seven months behind on salary payments among other missed bills, Kingfisher's fleet has been grounded since the start of the month when a staff protest turned violent. The airline ...
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UPDATE 2-India suspends Kingfisher Airlines' licence
Licence suspended until turnaround plan approved. * Full cancellation of licence unlikely - source. *Kingfisher suspends all future bookings. * Airline has been grounded since start of month (AddsKingfisher statement, detail). By Anurag Kotoky. NEW ...
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Indian gov't suspends Kingfisher Airlines' license, says minister
Washington Post
NEW DELHI — The Indian government on Saturday suspended the license of Kingfisher Airlines, which has been struggling to resume flights following a strike by pilots and engineers who have not been paid for months. India's Civil Aviation Minister Ajit ...
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Indian gov't suspends Kingfisher license
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By ASHOK SHARMA, Associated Press – 1 minute ago. NEW DELHI (AP) — The Indian government on Saturday suspended the license of Kingfisher Airlines, which has been struggling to resume flights following a strike by pilots and engineers who have not ...
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India suspends Kingfisher Airlines flights
Indian regulators have suspended Kingfisher Airlines from flying. The airline which has been facing financial problems, has had its fleet grounded and been unable to pay its staff. Prerna Suri has more from New Delhi.
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