Mallya meets aviation secretary, discusses revival plan for cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines

Last Updated: Tue, Oct 30, 2012 11:50 hrs

Liquor baron Vijay Mallya called on Union Aviation Secretary K N Shrivastava and discussed the revival plan of his cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines.

Kingfisher Airlines Ltd, which has never made a profit, had its licences suspended by the civil aviation authorities recently and has not flown since the start of October after a protest by employees, who had been unpaid since March.

The cash-strapped carrier said it would use its own money to try and get back in the air.

The day before, staff had agreed to return to work after the airline said it would pay three months of overdue salary by November 13.

Employees of the grounded Kingfisher Airlines Limited agreed to return to work, the embattled carrier's chief executive said after meeting with staff, who have not received their salaries since March.

Kingfisher has to submit a revival plan to the aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation, ahead of which, Mallya met Civil Aviation Secretary KN Shrivastava.

"I briefed the secretary on the status of the revival and restart plan and it is going to be totally comprehensive. I cannot comment on what the airport authority says. I have not gone and met them, I came to brief the secretary," he said while speaking to reporters in New Delhi.

The airline must convince the aviation regulator to reinstate its licence, which was suspended.

Meanwhile, Kingfisher offered to pay three months wages by November 13 and clear arrears every month so that striking employees may restart work by Friday.

The airline, which was once India's second largest by domestic market share, has never made a profit since its launch in 2005, and has total debt of nearly $2.5 billion, according to an estimate by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, a consultancy.

On Saturday (October 20), India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation suspended the airline's licence after the carrier failed to address its concerns over safety.

Kingfisher has been scrambling for investors to inject fresh capital into it, and had lobbied for a recent Indian rule change that allows foreign carriers to buy up to 49 percent of an Indian airline. However, no international carrier has publicly expressed interest in taking a stake in Kingfisher. (ANI)

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