* Overseas operations "bleeding heavily"
* Airline says there is interest from foreign investors
* Working to realise urgent working capital
MUMBAI, March 14 (Reuters) - India's Kingfisher
Airlines will curtail its overseas operations as the
debt-crippled carrier looks to slash costs as its funding dries
up and losses mount.
Kingfisher, which has cut its operations as pilots walk out
and authorities freeze its bank accounts, said in a statement it
is searching for urgent working capital. Foreign investors have
shown an interest in the carrier, it said.
"We would like to confirm that we are curtailing our wide
body overseas operations that are bleeding heavily," the airline
said on Wednesday, adding that it had already returned one
Airbus A330-200 to its UK lessor as a result.
Kingfisher, which has never turned a profit, has become a
byword for India's struggling airline industry beset by high jet
fuel costs, stiff competition and low fares.
India's government is expected to soon allow foreign
carriers to buy a stake in Indian airlines to help the industry
mired in around $20 billion worth of debt.
"The government's final verdict on removing the restriction
on investment by a foreign airline within the existing FDI limit
of 49 percent is awaited. We can confirm that there is interest
from prospectives on this basis," Kingfisher said.
Kingfisher, controlled by flamboyant liquor baron Vijay
Mallya, was suspended from the International Air Transport
Association's account settlement system last week due to
non-payment of fees.
The airline said on Wednesday that the suspension was due to
tax authorities' freeze on its bank accounts.
"We continue to work with the tax authorities to arrive at a
solution to de-freeze our accounts as early as possible... We
are also working with our bankers to realise the urgent interim
working capital," Kingfisher said.