Even as the crisis in Air India continues with no signs of a solution in sight, another Indian carrier Kingfisher Airlines is in fresh trouble with 80 of its engineers quitting their jobs.
The cash-strapped private airline has defaulted on the employees' salaries since February. According to the media reports, around 80 of its engineers have quit their jobs since then, protesting non-payment of salaries.
Some 60-80 engineers have already quit the carrier in the last 4-5 months, as they could not sustain non-payment of salaries. And more are planning to do so, PTI reported quoting the airline sources.
Around 200 engineers had also reported sick in April, complaining against the delay in payment of salaries by the airline. According to sources, if the exodus continues, the debt-ridden airline may have to face severe shortage of engineers.
However, Kingfisher officials affirmed that their operations would not get affected by the exodus of engineers. It maintained that the airline has sufficient number of engineers to continue the operations.
We have sufficient number of engineers to support our operations, a Kingfisher Airlines spokesperson said in a text message to PTI.
The near-bankrupt airline owned by liquor baron Vijay Mallya has scaled down operations by cancelling and pruning its schedules. It cut down its operations from 365 flights a day to 100 flights. The airline's market share also fell sharply to 5.2 percent in May, comparied to a 20 percent market share it held in the previous year.
The private carrier has been trying to raise capital from domestic and foreign lenders, but has failed in the attempt. The carrier had also sought a revival package from the government.
The loss-making air carrier has over Rs. 7,500 crore in debts and all banks are resisting considering any further assistance to the company, till its promoters bring in at least Rs 2,000 crore in fresh capital. The company has also defaulted in its tax payments and payments to the creditors and venders. Several agencies have also moved the court against the airlines as the cheques issued by it to the venders got dishonored.
During the year, the airline issued cheques worth Rs 30 crore, but none was honored, Economic Times reported quoting the people in know of the matter, as saying.