Bad times ahead for the king of good times?

Feb 20, 2012, 08:23 IST | Bipin Kumar Singh

Services of Kingfisher Airlines were badly hit yesterday with almost half of its flights from major centres cancelled or delayed, causing hardship to passengers

Services of Kingfisher Airlines were badly hit yesterday with almost half of its flights from major centres cancelled or delayed, causing hardship to passengers. MiD DAY spoke to some of the employees of the cash-strapped airlines, who said that the worst is yet to come.

Left in the lurch: About 80 Kingfisher flights were cancelled yesterday,
out of which 16 were from Mumbai.
Pic/Vishal Yadav

No money, honey!
"The top management claims that the situation will improve in the days to come. However, it's not clear how and when it will happen. They haven't paid us since the past three months. The condition is so bad that we have to run from one counter to another to get an approval for the advance salary of even Rs 5,000," said a Kingfisher employee working at the Kolkata airport.

He added that they have received two e-mails informing us that the Eastern India operations, especially Kolkata, will be discontinued and the employees have to option to join any of the other three locations mentioned in the mail.

Likewise, a Kingfisher pilot said, "The airline may give hundred of excuses for not meeting the operations.

However, the fact is that they don't have enough aircrafts for smooth operation."

According to a source, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has deregistered some of the aircrafts after the company that had leased its aircrafts to Kingfisher Airlines complained of not being paid by the carrier.
Besides, some of the aircrafts are under maintenance and the airline is even struggling to get spare parts.

"Kolkata is considered to be a prominent centre for the Kingfisher, but there there's not even a single aircraft available at the Kolkata base. Also, the relation between the employees and the management has hit rock bottom," the source said.  He added that pilots, cabin crew and the technicians are even boycotting the roster, which is one of the reasons that lead to delays.

Yesterday, about 80 Kingfisher flights were cancelled, out of which 16 were from Mumbai. In a bid to save passengers from bearing the brunt, DGCA requested other airlines to accommodating stranded travellers. "We received information from various sources about Kingfisher canceling a large number of flights. The airline should have informed us about the same," said DGCA Chief E K Bharatbhushan.

The other side
A statement issued by the Kingfisher Airlines read, 'It is not desirable to magnify or sensationalise any issue pertaining to Kingfisher Airlines. We would like to categorically state that we have not shut any stations, nor do we have any intention of doing so. Admittedly there have been flight disruptions since yesterday which will continue for four days due to unexpected events including bird strikes, which rendered aircraft out of service. We therefore could only operate 208 daily flights.' The release added, 'The speculative queries 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. We would appreciate it if the media would present a balanced and factual picture rather than adopt a wholly negative posture against Kingfisher.'

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