New Delhi: Aviation watchdog Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Friday issued showcause notice to Kingfisher Airlines, said the ministry, threatening to cancel the licence of the firm if it failed to clean up its act.
Earlier, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh had said that they were worried about the safety aspect of Kingfisher which is in doldrums and has declared a partial lockout and then extended it following employees' unrest over unpaid salaries.
The government said the DGCA has issued a show cause notice to the Kingfisher Airlines (KFA), to be replied within 15 days, that why its permit should not be cancelled or suspended under the provisions of Section 15(2)(b) of Schedule XI of the Aircraft Rules 1937 as the Airline has failed to establish a safe, efficient and reliable service.
The operations of the KFA are under suspension since Sept 30 due to strike by its employees.
Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh while taking a strong note of the situation has said that there will be no compromise on safety of aircraft operations.
The Government has also taken legal opinion in this regard. As per Section 15(2)(b) of Schedule XI of the Aircraft Rules 1937, DGCA may cancel or suspend permit of an Airline for such period as he thinks fit, if he is satisfied that the holder of the permit has failed to establish a safe, efficient and reliable service.
Earlier the Director General, Civil Aviation Arun Mishra had called the CEO of the KFA on Oct 2 and had asked him to submit an operational plan of the Airline.
In the meeting the DGCA also asked the Airline to show their operational preparedness before DGCA could allow recommencement of its operations by fulfilling the following conditions:
The CEO of the Airline had assured to resume operations by the 4-5 Oct but the Airline has not been able to resolve its issues.
They have not approached DGCA with any operational plan. DGCA reviewed the current situation of the Airline today and decided to issue the show cause notice to the Airline under Section 15(3) of Schedule XI of the Aircraft Rules 1937.
The government is not soft on the Kingfisher Airlines, Ajit Singh said on Friday at an interview with a news channel amid the ongoing crisis over the private carrier's operations and employees' protest over non payment of salaries.
Speaking to NDTV in an interview, when asked if the government was soft to the airline, Singh hit back saying: "Soft in what way? We didn't bail them out, or given any money."
He said the government is concerned about the safety aspect more.
"We check only on two issues- plane safety and [that] they maintain their schedules," he told the TV channel.
He said a pilot flying the plane would anyway be cautious because it was he also who would be on the plane.
Singh wondered why are "the pilots working if they are so distressed?"
The ongoing crisis of the Kingfisher Airlines continued as the scheduled meeting between the management and the employees in Bangalore and Chennai were cancelled on Friday.
The employees, who continued with their protest at times in the airline's offices, were scheduled to meet Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sanjay Agarwal.
The talks between Kingfisher Airlines management and employees remained inconclusive on Thursday as only 24 pilots met Agarwal in Delhi while almost all of the 270 striking engineers boycotted the meeting.
Amid the escalating crisis, the private carrier has extended the partial lock-out till Oct 12.
Kingfisher Airlines earlier announced a partial lock-out till Oct 4 after no agreement was reached between the management and its striking employees over pending salary payment.
According to reports, banks have decided to release Rs 60 crore to the private carrier.
The move was made after the Income Tax Department on Thursday lifted the freeze on the cash-strapped carrier's accounts, reports said.
The employees of the Kingfisher Airlines have often been striking time and again over the issue of non-payment of salaries this year.
Kingfisher reported a loss of Rs. 1,151.50 crore in the March quarter.
It has a debt of over Rs. 7,500 crore and accumulated losses which is almost equal.
Kingfisher Airlines controlled by liquor baron Vijay Mallya has neither been able to pay salaries regularly since February nor has it managed to pay its dues to oil companies and airports, media reports said.