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Kingfisher flights hit for third day

Kingfisher Airlines operations continued to be disrupted for the third consecutive day with around 14 flights cancelled Monday, a day after the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) took a serious note of the developments, an airport official said.

Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) officials, despite repeated attempts, declined to confirm or deny the developments. Instead, they repeatedly said that "we shall issue a statement when required" and refused to comment on the potential action by the DGCA.

The cancellations have affected incoming or outbound flights in Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore.

The abrupt flight cancellations had created major problems for passengers waiting to travel after having booked their tickets months in advance, an official at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport said.

However, Sunday, the beleaguered carrier reeling under financial losses had claimed that despite flight disruptions since the past couple of days, it has not shut down any stations from its schedules, an official said.

The developments have also worried passengers intending to travel on KFA flights in the next few days or weeks.

"Last minute cancellations jeopardise our travel and onward plans, while other carriers charge heavily for the same sector if we try to cancel and make alternate bookings," said A.A. Kinariwalla, a manager with a multinational in Mumbai, who is a frequent flier on domestic and international sectors.

A KFA spokesperson blamed the flight disruptions on certain unexpected incidents like 'bird hits' which rendered its aircraft out of service.

The flight disruptions are expected to continue for another three to four days with only 208 flights in operations, but the carrier has not shut down nor does it plan to close down any stations, the official said.

"The speculation that we are reducing our operating schedule from 240 flights a day are ill-founded, as we will operate the full schedule on our booking system within the next four days," the spokesperson added.

While admitting that its bank accounts have been attached by the Income Tax Department, KFA said in the past also similar issues have happened and they have been resolved.

"We have had a good meeting with our consortium of Banks who have accepted, in principle, the viability study prepared by SBI Capital markets and independent consultants. Our request for additional working capital has been acknowledged by the consortium and is subject to individual bank approvals," the spokesperson said.

The developments come after high fuel costs and falling revenue resulted in KFA losses in the third quarter of the current fiscal mounting to Rs.444 crore from a net loss of Rs.254 crore suffered in the like quarter of 2010-11.

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