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And now, crippled Kingfisher sees flight of engineers

Last updated on: June 26, 2012 11:21 IST

And now, crippled Kingfisher sees flight of engineers

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About 80 engineers have quit Kingfisher Airlines during the past four months because of 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 told PTI in Mumbai.

Some 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."

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Image: Kingfisher chairman Vijay Mallya speaks with the media after his meeting with Director General of Civil Aviation E K Bharat Bhushan.
Photographs: Parivartan Sharma/Reuters

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About 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 share nose-diving to a mere 5.2 per cent in May from as high as 20 per cent last year on account of a truncated flights, the airline has not paid salary to its employees since February.

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Image: Passengers stand at a Kingfisher Airlines reservation office at the domestic airport in Kolkata.
Photographs: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters

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And now, crippled Kingfisher sees flight of engineers

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The airline, which has not posted profit since its inception in May 2005, made a loss of Rs 1,151.5 crore (Rs 11.51 billion) in the March quarter, has debt of over Rs 7,500 crore (Rs 75 billion) and an equal amount of accumulated losses.

The Bengaluru-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.

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Image: A lone Kingfisher Airlines customer waits in a check-in queue at Mumbai's domestic airport.
Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters

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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 (Rs 20 billion) in fresh capital to consider the demand.

Kingfisher had pledged assets ranging from its brand to office furniture for Rs 6,400- crore (Rs 64-billion) 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.


Image: A bomb squad vehicle stands next to a Kingfisher flight at Chattrapati Shivaji airport in Mumbai.
Photographs: Reuters

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