I'm not an absconder: Mallya

Last Updated: Wed, Oct 24, 2012 05:57 hrs

For the first time after the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) suspended his airline's licence and the employees rejected the management's three-month salary offer, Kingfisher Airlines Chairman Vijay Mallya tweeted: "I travel 24x7 where my multiple work responsibilities take me. Sections of media call me an absconder because I don't talk to them."

The airline's pilots and engineers at Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai have rejected the three-month salary offer. However, sources say that a majority of Mumbai pilots and engineers have accepted the salary offer. The Delhi-based employees are planning to stage a protest when Mallya comes to the Formula 1 Indian Grand Prix sporting event at Noida, on the outskirts of Delhi.

On Monday, Kingfisher management had agreed to pay the salary of March (which has been paid to only 2,000 of the 4,000 striking employees) within 24 hours while the April salary will be paid within a week and May salary before the festival of Diwali.

Rejecting the management's offer right away, Delhi-based pilots and engineers wrote to Sanjay Aggarwal, the CEO of Kingfisher Airlines. In the mail, the Delhi-based pilots asked: "Why are conditions being imposed on the disbursement of our rightful salaries? Why are salaries not paid in continuation as per the calendar month as the number of pending month's salary remain the same?"

The airline's engineering staff at Delhi wrote: "We are refusing your three-month salary offer because you have lost our faith. We appeal to you to pay the salary from March 2012 to June 2012 at one go, on or before October 26, as March salaries for about 75 per cent employees have already been paid. Kindly clarify if the salaries for subsequent months will be credited by 10th of every month without fail."

On Monday, the employees made an emotional appeal to Mallya to talk directly to them. Subhash Chandra Mishra, a senior engineer of Kingfisher Airlines, said: "The management has been fooling us till now. They are playing with our emotions and sentiments. We want Dr Mallya to meet us face-to-face, not through representatives or Internet or any other indirect means."

Meanwhile, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh refused to intervene in the matter, saying Kingfisher Airlines is a privately-owned company and that the government can't make the airline pay staff salaries. He also said the salary payment alone will not make the airline fly and that it will have to submit a realistic plan.

Kingfisher stock falls 4.59%
Kingfisher stock fell 4.59 per cent on BSE with continuing uncertainty regarding resumption of service. The stock opened 4.59 per cent lower at Rs 10.40 and closed at the same level. In the last six months, the airline stock has crashed from a high of Rs 30.90 and slipped to Rs 7 in August before rising to the current level. Aviation experts say the airline requires massive recapitalisation for it to stay afloat.

Meanwhile, Kingfisher's bankers, which have over Rs 7,500 crore locked in the ailing airline, will soon meet to chart out the future course of action, said Punjab National Bank Chairman and Managing Director K R Kamath

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