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Survival plan: Kingfisher gets time till Monday

Last updated on: January 6, 2012 14:12 IST

Kingfisher told to come up with plan by Monday

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BS Reporters in New Delhi/Mumbai

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has given Kingfisher Airlines till Monday to come back with a detailed plan of financial recovery and safety, which includes getting 20 grounded aircraft of a fleet of 69 back into the air.

The regulator said an audit of airlines, triggered by Kingfisher flight cancellations in November, expressed concern over overlooking the crucial safety issues.

The DGCA will seek explanations from all airlines on corrective measures. Kingfisher officials were summoned on Thursday as part of this exercise.

"We have done a financial audit of all airlines. Some safety concerns need to be addressed.

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Image: Vijay Mallya.
Photographs: Reuters

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Survival plan: Kingfisher gets time till Monday

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All the airlines will be called to give an explanation, Director General Bharat Bhushan told reporters in Delhi.
He said there is no call of shutting any airline.

"I have asked Kingfisher officials to come back on Monday with a full safety plan," said Bhushan.

The Kingfisher meeting followed the DGCA audit. It found that several Kingfisher planes were grounded because of want of spares or maintenance issues, said a DGCA official who did not wish to be identified.

The audit of Air India Express, Air India's low-cost international carrier, found that the airline was unable to keep its schedule because of lack of trained pilots and not enough autonomy to take decisions for better functioning, the same official said.

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Image: Kingfisher meeting followed the DGCA audit.
Photographs: Reuters

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Survival plan: Kingfisher gets time till Monday

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Kingfisher said in a statement today the DGCA had asked it to provide a specific timeline for getting its grounded aircraft back in the air and for its recapitalisation efforts.

"We would like to clarify that DGCA did not have any significant findings or concerns with regard to safety at Kingfisher Airlines and that we have adequate number of pilots and engineers to operate our scheduled services,'' said the airline.

Aviation experts said the DGCA audit raised some uncomfortable questions regarding the regulator's own functioning. "How did the DGCA approve the flight schedules of Kingfisher when it was aware that several of its planes are on ground?"an expert asked.

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Image: DGCA audit has raised some uncomfortable questions regarding the regulator's own functioning.
Photographs: Reuters

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Survival plan: Kingfisher gets time till Monday

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In September, DGCA approved the airline's winter schedule with over 400 slots but barely a month later, Kingfisher cancelled 50 flights and grounded planes.

The DGCA is considering taking back those slots from Kingfisher and allotting these to other airlines.

"DGCA has been functioning less like a regulator and more like a facilitator,'' said aviation expert Mohan Ranganathan.
He said DGCA has been aware of Kingfisher's grounded planes and this shows it's lax in enforcing rules.


Image: DGCA approved the airline's winter schedule with over 400 slots.
Photographs: Reuters

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