Around 200 pilots including captains are on strike since yesterday protesting non-payment of salary, which they have not received for the past five months. The strike has forced the airline to cancel its ATR-operations.
Kingfisher currently has only 15 aircraft flying, including 8 ATRs, while 15 of its aircraft are grounded due to non-availability of spares on account of fund crunch. The lessor has already taken back 34 aircraft after the company allegedly defaulted on the rentals amounting to around Rs 1,000 crore. Kingfisher spokesperson was not available for comment.
"More than 200 pilots, including captains, are on a strike as the airline has once again failed to pay salaries to the staff. The employees had a meeting with airline chairman Vijay Mallya on the issue, but after he failed to commit anything on the salary payment, the pilots decided to stop work," airline sources said here last night.
A meeting of all employees, including pilots, engineers and cabin crew, has been convened here today to chalk out further course of action, they said. Earlier also some of its pilots and engineers had gone on a strike, but returned to work after the management assured them of remitting the salaries. The assurance had come along with some tough talk by Mallya.
The cash-strapped airline has neither been able to pay salaries since February nor has managed to pay its dues to oil companies and airports. It has also defaulted on payment of service tax and TDS to the government.