80 engineers bid goodbye to Kingfisher over salary woes
More engineers are in the process of quitting the airline due to non-payment of salaries by the near-bankrupt carrier
Mumbai: About 80 engineers have quit Kingfisher Airlines during the past four months due to non-payment of salaries by the near-bankrupt carrier, sources said.
"Some 60-80 engineers have already quit the carrier in the last 4-5 months as they could not sustain non-payment of salaries. And more are planning to do so," airline sources said.More engineers are in the process of bidding good-bye to the carrier, they said, adding, "If the trend continues, the airline may face severe shortage of engineers."
Around 200 engineers reported sick in April protesting delay in salaries. Kingfisher, however, maintained that it has "sufficient number" of engineers to maintain its fleet.
"We have sufficient number of engineers to support our operations," a Kingfisher Airlines spokesperson said in a text message.
Relegated to the bottom of the market pie with its sharenose-diving to a mere 5.2 percent in May from as high as 20 percent last year on account of a truncated flights, the airline has not paid salary to its employees since February.
The airline, which has not posted profit since its inception in May 2005, made a loss of Rs 1,151.5 crore in the March quarter, has debt of over Rs 7,500 crore and an equal amount of accumulated losses.
The Bangalore-based carrier has also been defaulting on tax payments as well as bills to its vendors and has been seeking fresh bank funds since last December apart from trying
to raise overseas funds unsuccessfully. But bankers have been resisting the demand saying the promoters, including chairman Vijay Mallya himself, have to bring in at least Rs 2,000 crore in fresh capital to consider the demand.
Kingfisher had pledged assets ranging from its brand to office furniture for Rs 6,400 crore bank loans, according to the Finance Ministry. This includes a luxury villa in Goa, two helicopters, a building in Mumbai and shares have also been used as collateral for loans as of November 2011, Minister of State for Finance Namo Narain Meena had told Parliament last December.
Fed up with the non-payment of airport dues by ailing Kingfisher and frequent instances of the airline's cheques bouncing, AAI has served a legal notice to the airline in Mumbai.
In his typical style, Mallya's message to the Indian consumer was unforgettable. He had wanted to make Kingfisher the best in the world by 'delighting you'. But do Indians truly care about delight?<br /><br />
Kingfisher Airlines chief Vijay Mallya today said the company was negotiating with banks to reduce the high interest rates on its Rs 6,000 crore debt but maintained the air carrier was not suffering from a "huge" debt burden.