As fliers suffer, Kingfisher asked to furnish revised schedule (Roundup)February 21st, 2012 - 7:40 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Feb 21 (IANS) Crisis-hit Kingfisher Airlines has been asked by the aviation regulator to file a revised flights schedule in 24 hours as passengers suffered for the fourth day with just 28 out of the carrier’s 64 planes operating Tuesday.
The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has also ordered a probe to check the safety of the airline’s planes.
The directions were issued following a meeting the DGCA, E.K. Bharat Bhushan, held with Sanjay Aggarwal, chief executive of the Vijay Mallya-promoted carrier, seeking an explanation on why the airline was operating a truncated service.
“We don’t want customers to be affected. I have asked them to come up with a revised schedule not later than by tomorrow (Wednesday),” Bhushan told reporters here after the meeting.
This is the second time Kingfisher has suddenly lowered the number of flights it operates. It did so in November citing difficult operating conditions. During the winter schedule, which runs from November to March, the airline had sought to operate around 400 flights with 64 aircraft.
“In November, when they suddenly truncated some of their flights, we had asked them to give their revised schedule. Today, we took stock of the situation and have found that only 28 out of 64 aircraft are operating,” the DGCA said.
With 28 planes, the regulator estimates that Kingfisher would only be able to operate about 175 flights each week.
However, there would be no punitive action against Kingfisher at this point in time.
“Let us not talk of punitive action at the moment. We are more interested to see the airline back on its feet. Our priority is not to punish… because of the immediate difficulties the travelling public will have to face,” said Bhushan.
The directions were issued even as Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said the government could not advocate any bail-out for the struggling airline even as he said a close-down will affect a host of people, especially employees.
“DGCA has asked for an explanation because passengers were not informed and neither was DGCA about the cancellation. It is against the rules and causes inconvenience to passengers,” the minister said.
Singh too echoed the view that the government would not want the airline to shut shop. He has, however, ruled out any plans of a bailout for the private carrier.
“We have to hear Kingfisher. Whenever big companies close down, it does affect people but you are certainly not going to advocate that banks should bail out all the ailing companies.”
The news sent Kingfisher scrip plummeting almost 20 percent to a low of Rs.21.40, but it managed to erase all losses and closed 0.75 percent up at Rs.26.80.
The passengers, meanwhile, cried foul. “First they did not have the basic courtesy to inform us. Then no alternative arrangements were made,” said R.K. Roy, a passenger from Kolkata, where the airline has completely shut down operations.
Several other flights of the airline continued to be cancelled across the country. Its international operation is in doldrums as flights to Kathmandu, Dhaka, Colombo and Bangkok had been affected.
Kingfisher officials, however, said the airline will restore many of the routes within the next few days, but were unable to spell out how they proposed to do so in the wake of mass exodus of pilots and crew.
“Most of the flights cancelled in the last few days will be in action in next four to five days,” Aggarwal said.
Kingfisher has been suffering from a severe cash crunch and conditions reached a tipping point when Income Tax authorities froze its bank accounts last week on grounds of non-payment of tax dues.
- Regulator reviews situation, asks Kingfisher for revised schedule - Feb 21, 2012
- Kingfisher cancels 20 flights, passengers take the hit - Feb 22, 2012
- Cannot advocate banks bailing out Kingfisher: Singh - Feb 21, 2012
- More Kingfisher flights hit, government rules out bailout (Roundup) - Feb 20, 2012
- Kingfisher stocks plunge 20 percent but pull up in noon trade - Feb 21, 2012
- Kingfisher Airlines CEO summoned to explain cancellations - Feb 20, 2012
- No airline faces closure, will ensure safety: Watchdog (Lead) - Jan 05, 2012
- No government bailout for Kingfisher: Ajit Singh (Lead) - Feb 20, 2012
- No airline faces closure, will ensure safety: Watchdog - Jan 05, 2012
- Kingfisher cancels 30 flights, submits new schedule (Lead) - Feb 22, 2012
- DGCA to submit report on Kingfisher - Mar 14, 2012
- Kingfisher tops in unused flight slots, says Ravi - Nov 30, 2011
- Ajit Singh rules out cancelling Kingfisher's licence - Feb 23, 2012
- Kingfisher cuts flights to fend off debt, banks plan lifeline (Roundup) - Feb 22, 2012
- 267 unused flight slots by domestic airlines: DGCA - Nov 23, 2011
Tags: aggarwal, ajit singh, bharat bhushan, chief executive, civil aviation, dgca, director general, fliers, flights schedule, kingfisher, kingfisher airlines, New Delhi, planes, point in time, punitive action, roundup, sanjay, second time, vijay, winter schedule