The striking pilots of Kingfisher Airlines caused 40 flight cancellations, which stranded passengers across the country on Saturday. Passengers in New Delhi were the most affected as 12 flights were axed. Meanwhile, six flights were scrapped in Mumbai and three in Bengaluru.
Kingfisher Chairman Vijay Mallya. File pic
Other flights to and from Chennai, Chandigarh, Dehradun and Dharamshala were also impacted. The pilots are protesting against non-payment of salaries and other dues for the past five months.
In a bid to contain the damage, Kingfisher chairman Vijay Mallya made a passionate appeal to the pilots to call off their strike. In a letter to employees, Mallya said: “I sincerely hope that all of you will listen carefully to my appeal and work together to restore Kingfisher to its rightful place. I really hope that good sense will prevail. I am doing my best.
If some of you think that cancelling flights or disgracing our company will produce cash and salaries, you are wrong. “This only makes my recapitalisation efforts more difficult by causing concern and apprehension among our potential investors. One of the main reasons that has motivated me into investing more money to keep Kingfisher flying is that I see light ahead.”
‘Dedicating most of my time’
Mallya asserted that he was devoting more time to the airline than any other UB (United Breweries) group companies and had invested over Rs 4,000 crore into Kingfisher Airlines since its start. “We worked hard to gain the trust and confidence of our guests. Today, by forcibly cancelling several flights we have lost most of that,” he said.
According to an airline official, the company has paid salaries to more than 75 per cent of employees. The others will get their dues by Monday. The official said passengers booked on the cancelled flights have either been re-booked or refunded their money. This is the third time in the last 12 days that Kingfisher pilots went on strike.