Is It now End OF The Road ? Kingfisher Airlines Ltd may lose International rights, slots
KingfisherBSE -2.37 % may theoretically have two years to restart operations but top aviation ministry sources say that unless the airline does so in the next month or two, it could well be the end of the road for it. For the airline's international flying rights—which remain in demand even when domestic traffic is dipping sharply—are going to be given to other Indian carriers, along with its airport slots, in the coming summer schedule if KFABSE -2.37 % shows no sign of life soon.
And then Kingfisher, which in its eagerness to start flying abroad before completing five years had bought Air Deccan to do so on its permit, will have to wait endlessly for foreign rights. "After that an airline will be able to get more foreign routes only when India and other countries enhance their bilateral flying. If Kingfisher has to start flying , it must do so in the coming weeks. Both state-run Airports Authority of India and private metro airports are also not going to reserve its slots, both domestic and international , forever," said a senior official.
Aviation authorities handling the Kingfisher crisis say they do not see any urgency among promoters to raise funds to restart flying. While the airline's licence was expiring in the New Year, the management simply submitted an 'unsatisfactory' revival plan. Director general of civil aviation Arun Mishra had called the airline's VP Hitesh Patel on December 29 (a Saturday) to point out the various loopholes in the plan. The idea: the airline must have a working day (December 31, a Monday) to resubmit if it had anything concrete to offer.
"The airline management just gave an unsatisfactory plan and did not even bother to find out what our response to that was. We really wonder if they can raise funds and have any concrete plans to do so because of the dire condition the airline is in with a collective debt-cum-loss of over Rs 15,000 crore," said an official.
Sources indicate that the promoters wanted to somehow make the airline fly again so that they can sell it off. "Who is going to put in money in a grounded airline? Without putting funds, the management wanted us to give the nod to fly again and then get an investor. We have very clearly told them that get funds first either through an investor or through internal group funding, pay off employees and others and then fly," said an official.
END OF THE ROAD?
Aviation authorities, which are handling the Kingfisher crisis, say they do not see any urgency in the promoters to raise funds. While the Airline's licence was expiring in New Year, the management submitted an 'unsatisfactory' revival plan. Kingfisher, which in its eagerness to start flying abroad before completing five years had bought Air Deccan to do so on its permit, will have to wait endlessly for foreign rights. "Both state-run Airports Authority of India and private metro airports are also not going to reserve its slots, both domestic and international, forever," said a senior official
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