As it happened: DGCA issues show-cause notice

6. 50 pm: Reports say DGCA has issued a show-cause notice to Kingfisher Airlines asking why its flying license should not be suspended or cancelled.

3:22 PM Civil aviation minister Ajit Singh has told ET Now channel that the aviation regulator DGCA has sought legal opinion on cancellation of Kingfisher's flying licence. He also said the regulator can send a showcause notice to the airline.

"Whether (aviation regulator) can suspend the licence or not, we will not allow Kingfisher to fly unless they meet the concerns that the DGCA has on safety and on the ability to maintain their operations," the minister told ET Now.

Adding another twist to the Kingfisher Airlines crisis, sources told CNNIBN that the airline will not be able to pay the full salaries to its employees. The current monthly salary outgo for Kingfisher Airlines stands at approximately Rs 20 crore. Half of the airline staff were paid their March salaries but for the outstanding salaries, the airline will need Rs 10 crore.

Kingfisher staff stage nationwide strike as talks fail

3:05 pm KFA employees are staging a nation-wide protest following the cancellation of fresh talks between CEO Sanjay Agarwal and staff that were scheduled to be held today in Bangalore and Chennai. As part of the protest, a section of employees held march from Mumbai airport to the Kingfisher House this morning, while employees stationed in Delhi are planning to hold a candlelight vigil later today.

About 150 Kingfisher employees, following what police said was the suicide of the wife of a staff member, held a protest march from Mumbai's airport to the airline's office nearby, adding pressure for a resolution to the carrier's long-running financial problems.

"How can the management realistically expect us to work?" Krishna Kumar, a 35-year-old engineer in Mumbai who joined Kingfisher six years ago, told Reuters "We have borne this for seven months," Kumar said, wearing a black armband.

Ajit Singh says Kingfisher needs to address staff concerns

11:35 pm: Aviation minister says Kingfisher needs to satisfy doubts over employee disgruntlement

The Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh has said that it's not just the finances but also the contentment of the employees of Kingfisher that they will consider before allowing the airline to function.

"There are a lot of factors involved in it. That includes the salaries of the employees, their disgruntlement issues and others. If the employees are disgruntled there is an issue of safety," Ajit Singh said.

"In order to give them permission to fly, they have to satisfy the DGCA on all these issues. The rest is if the law allows or...if we want to suspend their licence or revoke it, we have to see if the law permits," Singh told reporters.

Singh said the Kingfisher employees were hopeful at this stage and these strikes were limited to only a section of employees, but now engineers have gone on strike raising the problem of maintenance.

"There are lot of companies that fail. There are a number of them that revive after failing. If a company has a loss period of five years, it does not mean it can't revive itself.

"Here we have only two responsibilities. One is that the planes must fly safely and second is that they maintain their schedules so that there is no inconvenience to the passengers," he said, adding each aircraft must have an

airworthiness certificate from engineers before it can fly.

"The planes must be airworthy and they have to give a satisfactory report to the DGCA that the planes will be flying safely," he said.

11:25 pm: KFA management meet with Blore, Chennai staff cancelled

The meetings between Kingfisher Airlines's CEO Sanjay Agarwal and the airline's employees in Bangalore and Chennai scheduled has been cancelled a day after banks finally agreed to release Rs 60 crore to the cash-trapped airline. The airline needs Rs. 55-60 crore to pay its staff salaries for two months. The move to release the money came after the Income Tax department lifted the freeze on Kingfisher's accounts on Thursday.

On Thursday only 24 pilots turned up to meet CEO Sanjay Aggarwal in Delhi. Similar talks in Mumbai on Wednesday too ended in stalemate.Almost all of the 270 engineers on strike since Sunday boycotted the meeting.

9:pm Kingfisher to ground flights for another week

Kingfisher has announced it will ground its fleet for another week after failing to resolve an impasse with staff over salaries that have not been paid for more than half a year. "We regret that the illegal strike has still not been withdrawn and normalcy has not been restored in the company, thereby continuing to cripple and paralyse the working of the entire airline," spokesman Prakash Mirpuri said in a statement late on Thursday. He said the airline was extending what it describes as a partial lock-out to October 12, "or up to such earlier date on which the said illegal strike is called off."

Kingfisher co secretary Bharath Raghavan resigns

5:11 pm Even though Kingfisher Airlines chief executive officer Sanjay Aggarwal has told agitating airline employees that he would try and ensure timely payment of future salaries, a CNNIBN report says the airline's company secretary Bharath Raghavan has resigned.

Meanwhile, in a tragic incident in the national capital, the wife of an employee of the Kingfisher Airlines committed suicide. A suicide note has been recovered by the police that blames financial stress as the cause of the extreme step. The victim's husband is an engineer at KFA.

Kingfisher talks inconclusive, pilots want all dues cleared

1:27 pm Kingfisher's Delhi staff have issued a statement saying that talks with the management remained inconclusive as they have refused to rejoin work unless the salary arrears for seven months are cleared. ( Read more about the differences between the management and staff here)

Meanwhile, Times Now is reporting that no meeting will be held between the aviation regulator DGCA and the Kingfisher management today.

KFA claims 100 Delhi staff to return, may start ops in 4 days

10:49 am A meeting between Kingfisher CEO and the Delhi staff failed to give any clarity on the current situation. While CNBC-TV18 reported no engineers and pilots attended the meeting, a Reuters report said Kingfisher claimed that 100 Delhi pilots and engineers have agreed to return to work unconditionally after the management assured to pay March salaries within a week. About 100 people here agreed to return to work unconditionally," Sanjay Bahadur, vice president of corporate affairs, told reporters following a meeting in Delhi between management and members of staff.

The airline official, was also quoted as saying that the company is expected to resume operations withing four to five days.

Ball in Kingfisher's court, says Ajit Singh; Airline CEO to meet staff

9:49 am Civil aviation minister Ajit Singh reiterated this morning that Kingfisher will only be allowed to fly once all safety norms have been met and the airline has cleared all salaries of its employees. "The Ball is in Kingfisher's court, there is nothing we can to," Singh told reporters. He added that the ministry needed a proper concrete plan rather than just a status report on how it will operate, maintain schedule and if its aircraft are safe to fly.

Singh also stressed that passenger safety cannot be compromised."If engineers don't give approval before take-off the aircraft cannot fly." "DGCA's job is to ensure that Kingfisher has followed all safety parameters before it flies... it should satisfy DGCA that it will maintain its schedule," Singh said.

Singh, however, said he is yet to see the interim report of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation on the airline which was submitted yesterday.

Meanwhile Kingfisher CEO Sanjay Aggarwal has requested his employees for 20 more days to clear their dues.

9:oo am KFA CEO to meet staff today again, lenders call emergency meet

Kingfisher Airlines CEO Sanjay Agarwal is meeting the staff today again in his last ditch effort to end the partial lockout as scheduled. The meeting follows yesterday's failed attempt to reconcile with the striking employees. Employees, who haven't got salaries since March this year, rejected the offer of part payment and vowed to continue their agitation until all dues are cleared.

According to an NDTV report, Kingfisher Airlines CEO Sanjay Aggarwal will be meeting employees of the company through Thursday and on Friday morning. He is scheduled to meet the Delhi staff at 9 am today and the Bangalore staff at 4 pm. He will to meet Chennai employees tomorrow morning.


Meanwhile, the lenders to the airline have also called for an emergency meeting today at the State Bank of India headquarters to discuss recovery by exercising legal options, including slapping notices under the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, a Business Standard report said today.

However, Kingfisher, has reportedly asked lenders for Rs 200 crore to get at least 10-15 planes flying again and use some part of that money to pay salaries. "Banks have not rejected this proposal, but they are hesitant," Aggarwal is quoted as saying in the Economic Times.

Kingfisher, which had a fleet of 64 aircraft several months ago before the crisis engulfed it, is now operating only 10 - seven Airbus A-320s and three turbo-prop ATRs. The number of daily flights have also come down substantially from over 400 last year to between 70 and 80.

Even though the airline claims to be in advanced talks with foreign airlines and non-airline investors for a possible stake sale to ride out of the crisis, it faces the possibility of a prolonged shutdown since it has failed to clear dues for the last seven months.

Even the civil aviation regulator asked it to clear its backlog of salaries before resuming flights. However, Sanjay Aggarwal said only salary for March will be paid soon since a large chunk of its cash is stuck in banks because of attachments.

The regulator said the company would have to show it a viable recovery and operations plan before it could be given a green signal to fly.

Updated Date: Dec 20, 2014 12:28 PM

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