The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) Saturday suspended Kingfisher Airlines’ license after the beleaguered airline failed to adhere to the deadline given to it by the Indian aviation regulator to reply to a show cause notice served to it.
The crisis-laden airline couldn’t answer any questions raised by the DGCA. Instead, it responded Friday to the show cause notice with a request for more time to answer the queries and sought permission to appear before the DGCA to clarify the issues. However, the airline had not specified how much time it needed to submit its report, PTI reported.
Unhappy over the liquor baron Vijay Mallya-controlled airline’s response, the DGCA suspended its license. The action was expected as the aviation controller had not allotted any slots to Kingfisher in its winter schedule which runs from December through March.
The options before the DGCA included a suspension or cancelation of the license or giving some more time to the airlines to reply to the notice.
The suspension of license would mean a halt in Kingfisher’s ticket sales and flying operations till it’s revoked. This would give the airline an option to restart its operations after resolving its issues and satisfying the DGCA on its preparedness to fly according to the regulations.
Had the DGCA cancelled the license, Kingfisher Airlines would have been forced to start from the scratch and go through the lengthy process of acquiring a license afresh as per the regulations.
The airline has grounded all its flights since Oct 1 as it doesn’t have the resources to keep it operational. Its employees have refused to work till their salaries, pending since March 2012, are paid, forcing airline to announce a partial lockout.
The DGCA issued the show cause notice to the company Oct. 5 with a 15-day deadline to reply, asking why its license should not be cancelled as it had failed to give efficient service and had frequently cancelled flights in the past 10 months causing great inconvenience to the public.
Kingfisher has never made a profit since its inception in 2005 and has a total debt burden of over Rs. 70 billion. The airline’s management has been attempting to solve the impasse over the labor unrest by convincing its staff to resume work.
The airline Friday issued a statement extending the lockout till Oct 23 and expressing confidence that they could resume operations by Nov. 6, assuming that it would get the DGCA approval.
“Kingfisher Airlines Ltd. has extended the partial lockout until October 23, 2012. We had a positive meeting with employee representatives on October 17th and are hopeful of reaching common ground when we meet again next week. Currently, we anticipate resuming operations on November 6th, subject to our resumption plan being reviewed and approved by the DGCA,” the statement read.