New Delhi: Kingfisher Airlines‘ Scheduled Operator Permit (SOP) has been suspended by aviation regulator DGCA this afternoon which means the airline cannot fly now until the suspension is revoked.
Though the licence suspension was imminent and, in all probability, come as a relief to the airline — since operating losses are halved when it does not operate planes — it leaves a big question mark over the fate of employees and vendors of Kingfisher.
Speaking to Firstpost, DGCA Arun Mishra confirmed that an order suspending the licence of Kingfisher Airlines has been issued.
But he also made it clear that his office has nothing to do with issues of payment that employees and airline vendors are facing. “These issues do not fall under my purview,” Mishra said.
Employees have not been paid for seven months. And engineers of the airline, who were instrumental in unleashing the present crisis by refusing to certify planes, have said earlier that unless the airline offers them at least four months’ salary (due for seven months now) and that too before Diwali (which falls on 12 November), not one engineer will return to work. Another meeting between the employees and management is slated for Monday.
A senior pilot with Kingfisher told Firstpost after the suspension notice was issued today that the meeting scheduled for Monday “would be make or break. Either we and the management come to a solution or else employees will be left with no option but to move the courts.”
Besides employees’ dues, the airline owes about Rs 290 crore to the Airports Authority of India (AAI).
Kingfisher’s flights have been grounded since 1 October after pilot unrest was made worse by engineers refusing to certify planes. Now, unless the airline gets back with a viable plan to the DGCA, aircraft will remain on the ground.