In what appears to be the first signs of a thaw in the bitter fight between Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) management and staff, a payment disbursement proposal, floated by the management on Monday, was accepted by a significant percentage of its staff who have been on agitation for the past three weeks.
According to sources, the airline offered payment of March salaries within 24 hours, followed by the disbursement of April wages within a week and May salaries before Diwali (November 12). The airline management also proposed to pay June salaries by the first week of December and at least one salary a month after that.
Following a confidential meeting that took place at The Qube, the airline’s office in Mumbai, the proposal was circulated through text messages among the staff.
“Staffers were asked to type Y for Yes and N for No to get a consensus,” a source said.
According to the sources, a significant section of employees accepted the proposal based on the tally of text messages on Monday evening.
Up until now, the management had committed to clearing just the March salaries, while employees had demanded settlement of all dues. Sources added that negotiations were now underway between employees who accepted the proposal and those who had not.
Until Monday evening, KFA pilots had accepted the demand, but the engineers were against it, the sources said. KFA employees are likely to submit their final decision by Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the suspension of KFA's licence by DGCA has raised concern over 30 flight slots approved for the cash-strapped airline at Mumbai airport in the winter schedule.
Aviation experts fear if the takeoff and landing slots go unused, flyers may have to jostle for limited seats and end up spending more on travel.
"The regulator should set a deadline for the airline to submit a revival plan. If it fails to deliver, the slots should be redistributed among other airlines in the interest of passengers," said Amber Dubey, director (aerospace and defence), KPMG (India).