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Kingfisher Airlines cancels flights as employees strike work

New Delhi(PTI): A large number of Kingfisher flights were cancelled today as a section of the airline employees, including engineers and pilots, struck work to demand payment of salaries, pending since March.

Over 15 flights out of Delhi to places like Mumbai, Pune, Srinagar, Jammu, Imphal, Dehradun and Dharamsala were cancelled, airport sources said, adding several flights out of Mumbai and Bangalore were also cancelled.

In the wake of mass cancellations, aviation regulator DGCA said it would review Kingfisher’s operations and discuss the matter with officials of the Civil Aviation Ministry.

“We will review the situation of Kingfisher Airline,” Director General of Civil Aviation Arun Mishra told PTI, adding that the situation facing the airline’s operations would be reported to and discussed with the Ministry.

Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh had recently said that Kingfisher’s flying license would be cancelled if it did not operate at least five aircraft out of its drastically slashed fleet of 14.

The engineers of Kingfisher went on a strike on Friday to protest non-payment of salaries since March, with a section of pilots and some other employees joining the agitation today.

“Almost all Kingfisher aircraft are grounded due to the engineer’s strike….some Mumbai-based pilots have also joined in the strike today,” sources told PTI.

As per DGCA norms, an aircraft cannot take off unless its airworthiness is certified by the airline’s engineers.

Saddled with a huge debt of Rs 7,000 crore which it has not serviced since January, Kingfisher has currently been operating 14 planes out of its earlier fleet of 64.

Many Kingfisher aircraft have been either taken away by its lessors or grounded by the Airports Authority of India for non-payment of dues during the past few months.

A Kingfisher spokesman said in a statement, “We are anticipating disruptions and delays of flights on Monday, as it is likely that a section of KF employees may not report to duty due to threat by a section of engineers who are not reporting for duty.”

“With a view to mitigating the impact of the anticipated disruption, we are pro-actively cancelling several flights across our network today. We are monitoring the situation and continue to engage with this section of employees to see reason as such action is not only detrimental to the company but directly impact the travelling public.”

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