It would be difficult to tell that Vijay Mallya is the owner of the troubled Kingfisher Airlines. While the chairman of the UB Group jets around the globe and son Sidhartha tweets about pub hour in London, the airline’s management has been unable to resolve the standoff with its employees. Is the Mallyas’ lifestyle a reason for the employees anger?
“His style is always ahead of his substance. I think this is a fundamental problem. At a time like this when you have a public display of apathy and ignorance it worries everyone. All his stakeholders are turning on him to say: Is this real?” public relations expert Dilip Cherian told CNN IBN .
However, according to SC Mishra, co-coordinator of the Kingfisher Employees Union in Delhi, the only person in the airline management they still trust is Mallya, despite him choosing to stay away from meeting them.
“We are out rightly rejecting his offer. We don’t have enough trust on the top management headed by Sanjay Agarwal and Hitesh Patel. But he said that they had some faith in Dr Mallya,” Mishra said.
“We want him to come face to face with us. Our representative will go,” Mishra said.
If he makes a good offer then the employees might accept it, he said.
But where exactly did the rot start in the airline of the ‘king of good times’?
Kapil Kaul, CEO of Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA), believes it began with the acquisition of low cost carrier Deccan Airlines.
“It is a failure of the management and government. On top of that, the Deccan acquisition came at the wrong time,” he said.
However, the employees union have a different theory. They believe it was the swelling ranks of the senior management even while the airline was ailing that put the airline in a tailspin.
“He has added so many vice presidents and unnecessary officials to the company. Why was the top management continued to be paid in lakhs even after downsizing?,” Mishra said.