Employee exodus from Vijay Mallya-led Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) seems to be reaching alarming levels.
Around 35 senior commanders quit the cash-starved airline on February 14 to join IndiGo, sources said, the highest number to have put in their papers in a single day.
The airline is currently operating only about 20 planes out of its fleet of 64, sources said.
IndiGo, sources said, has given three-months salary as the joining bonus. Of the 35, five were from Bangalore, 18 from Delhi, four from Hyderabad and the rest from Mumbai. IndiGo had in September last year offered a joining bonus of R30 lakh equivalent to seven months salary to captains when it launched global operations."We hadn't been paid for close to three months," a senior captain told HT. "There was tremendous stress as many of us have taken housing loans and have other expenses. Even the DGCA has made it clear that unpaid pilots cannot be forced to serve notice periods."
There were also reports of another 20 captains having quit KFA in the last one week, which could not be confirmed by HT. Over 150 pilots have quit the airline in the past few months and KFA is now left with only about 100 captains on Airbus fleet.
"We have adequate numbers of flight crew and cabin crew to operate our flights," KFA said.
"With near endless reports of grounded jets, unpaid staff and flights being cancelled, one has to question just how long KFA can survive in its ever-shrinking form," said Saj Ahmad, a London-based aviation analyst.
"The reality is that Kingfisher cannot continue to operate this way - something major needs to happen," he added. "Whether that will be a financial rescue package or as presumed, a shutdown of operations - a decision about the future of the carrier looms ever closer."