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Fresh trouble for Kingfisher Airlines; 130 pilots quit

Cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines faces fresh trouble with some companies who have lent aircraft to the loss-making airline planning to take them back and about 130 staff pilots having quit in the past few weeks. Kingfisher defends viability; shares slump

india Updated: Nov 11, 2011 11:37 IST


Cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines, which has been cancelling flights across several routes, faces fresh trouble as some companies who have lent aircraft to the loss-making airline plan to take them back, while about 130 staff pilots have quit in the past few weeks, two newspapers said, citing unnamed sources.

Unable to raise funds from the equity or debt markets and fast running out of cash to pay for fuel supplies, Kingfisher on Thursday continued to cancel flights for the third day, the Economic Times said on Friday.

While the country's No. 2 carrier claimed it was cancelling 50 flights every day till November 19, it operated only 269 flights of its allocated winter schedule of 418 daily flights on Thursday, The Times of India said.

Leasing firms like International Lease Finance Corp, Investec Global Aircraft Leasing and GE Commercial Aviation, which have arranged for leases for the carrier with aircraft manufacturer Airbus, are in talks with Kingfisher over taking back the planes, the Economic Times said.

The cash-strapped carrier, which has not reported a profit ever since it got listed and has undergone debt restructuring once, had said in September it planned to exit its low-cost business in the next four months and focus on the premium model.

In its efforts to focus on the full-service market, Kingfisher said it has started reorganising its aircraft, requiring few of its flights to be out of service for the next few weeks.

"No shutdown, only ensuring loss minimisation by a flight rationalisation and enhanced revenue through reconfiguration of aircraft," chairman Vijay Mallya was quoted by Economic Times as saying.

First Published: Nov 11, 2011 09:30 IST