In a last ditch effort to end the impasse with its employees, Kingfisher Airlines today has offered to pay its staff three month salaries in installments. While the first month's salary will be paid within 24 hours, the second month's will be disbursed in a week and the third month's wages will come post Diwali, the management said today.
The Kingfisher Airlines has not paid its staff for seven months. While the KFA management meet with its employees is still underway, sources told IBN Live that the latter are unhappy and have rejected the offer. If the talks fail today, the employees will launch a nationwide protest and confront Vijay Mallya at the F1 track in Greater Noida, where the races are slated to begin on 26 October .
Earlier today, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh told NDTV that Kingfisher took its employees for a ride and it is unrealistic to expect the airline to fly again.
Meanwhile, shares in Kingfisher Airlines Ltd dropped 4.8 percent today, after its licence was suspended on Saturday.
Kingfisher's licence was suspended after it failed to address the regulator's concerns about its operations, forcing the debt-laden carrier to stop taking bookings.
In another related development, at least 15 planes which had been leased to the airline, were stripped clean, the leasing company's sources told CNN-IBN. The 15 aircraft were stripped of crucial parts at various airports and were declared not fit to fly.
Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh had said on Saturday: "If they are not able to provide any concrete revival plans on how to restart operations and to pay their employees, then the DGCA may cancel their licence."
The employees went on a strike Oct 1 demanding payment of their salaries by Oct 5, which have been pending since March.
They also claimed that non-payment of salaries has affected their morale and built up stress levels that can also affect operational safety.
The management said that the company intends to get workers in a few days. The management has said that out of 4000 workers, 3200 will get back to work. The management has assured that suspension will be revoked once the airline submits a revival plan.
However, irate employees have asked Vijay Mallya to talk to them directly and not through video conferencing. They also demanded four months salary immediately and said that the meeting with management was inconclusive.
"The management playing with our sentiments, families lives. We are miserable and are unable to pay for our basic needs," said an employee.
CNN IBN has reported that lockout will be extended till 25 October.
Kingfisher Airlines CEO Sanjay Aggarwal refused to divulge details about how the funding was being organised for clearing of the salary dues. Aggarwal expressed hope that "all employees will accept our proposal. The representatives will discuss the proposal with the and get back to us by Thursday".
Airline sources said the management would issue an appeal to all employees with the offer by tomorrow following insistence by their representatives on a written assurance alleging that the management had earlier backtracked.
The airline is saddled with a loss of Rs 8,000 crore and a debt burden of another over Rs 7,524 crore, a large part of which has not been serviced since January. It currently has only 10 operational aircraft compared to 66 a year ago.
The meeting was the first after Kingfisher's flying was suspended by DGCA last Friday following its failure to come up with a viable plan of financial and operational revival. Noting that the airline had not addressed any issue raised in its show-cause notice of October 5 and in meetings with top officials, DGCA suspended its Scheduled Operator's Permit till such time Kingfisher submitted "a concrete and reliable revival plan ensuring safe, reliable, efficient and sustainable Scheduled Air Transport Services to the satisfaction of DGCA".
Suspension of flying licence led to an immediate halt to all flying operations, which in any case were grounded since October 1 when the lockout was declared. It also resulted in stoppage of all ticket bookings on the entire network as well as through travel agents.
Kingfisher was issued an airline licence on August 26, 2003, which is valid till December 31.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Dec 20, 2014 13:00:14 IST