No international operations until transaction suspension revoked: Mallya

March 21st, 2012 - 1:32 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 20 (IANS) Kingfisher Airlines’ chairman Vijay Mallya Tuesday said the carrier’s international operations will remain suspended until its status with International Air Transport Association’s (IATA’s) inter-airline transaction body is restored.

Kingfisher was suspended by IATA from its inter-airline transaction body ICH (IATA Clearing House) and BSP (Billing and Settlement Plan) accounts on March 9 on account of non-payment of dues - a move akin to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) removing a commercial bank from its currency clearing system.

“So long as the BSP suspension is up, we cannot book guests on our international flights. So, it makes no sense to fly empty aircraft. Our teams have gone to Geneva to meet with the IATA and they will meet them today (Tuesday),” Mallya told reporters after meeting with the aviation regulator chief here.

“Our task is to restore the BSP. Until then, it makes no sense to operate international flights.”

On March 14, the airline announced that it is slashing its wide-bodied aircraft operations on international sectors that are making heavy losses. The beleaguered carrier had to also return one leased Airbus A330-320 to its lessor in Britain.

Mallya was summoned to meet the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) E.K. Bharat Bhushan to give a clear picture on the day-to-day operations, status of aircraft and flight schedule.

DGCA had earlier given a show cause notice to the cash-strapped airline for failing to inform it of the curtailed flight scheduled which caused immense hardship to the passengers.

According to Mallya, the meeting was satisfactory.

“I have had a good comprehensive meeting with the director general of DGCA. I have had a long discussion with him and I have submitted all details he required. I have assured him that I am available at all times in case he summons me again … we talked about current situation of KFA and summer schedule going forward,” Mallya said.

“I have also informed him about the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal in Bangalore has passed an order for de-freezing of the companies accounts.”

Mallya said that he told Bhushan that the airline will not submit an ambitious flight plan and will go with a schedule that can be operated with spare aircraft so that there will be no disruptions.

“We have fully dedicated 20 aircraft which are readily available with spare aircraft to maintain the schedule integrity.”

“All safety parameters are more than 100 percents and our aircraft are checked by DGCA inspectors daily at various stations and a daily reports comes to the director general.”

Mallya added that he was in touch with banks for additional working capital requirements and after recapitalisation, the airlines operations would be ramped up.

The development comes as the airline submitted its new summer schedule to the DGCA Monday which only lists 15 operational aircraft from at least 28 planes mentioned in an earlier schedule submitted in February.

On March 15, Mallya said that the airline will come up with a firm operating schedule.

Kingfisher’s woes were exacerbated Feb 18 when its employees in Kolkata went on a flash strike as they had not received their salaries for several months.

The airline, which later on curtailed its flight plans, blamed the seizure of its bank accounts in February by the Income Tax Department as the main hurdle in clearing of dues.

Kingfisher has a debt of Rs.7,057.08 crore. Its net loss widened to Rs.444.27 crore for the quarter ended Dec 31, 2011, from Rs.253.69 crore in the October-December quarter in the last fiscal.

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