Airline promoter Vijay Mallya, who co-owns the Sahara Force India team that is participating in the Indian Grand Prix, does not want to see any disruption by the agitating employees.
The deadlock over payment of salary dues continued as the employees rejected the management's offer of staggered clearance of three months dues by Diwali and demanded payment of four months' backlog in a lump sum by Friday evening. Kingfisher CEO Sanjay Aggarwal met engineers and pilots in Delhi, who have been in the forefront of the strike since Sept 29.
Following the strike, the management had declared a lockout on Oct 1 that was followed up by suspension of their flying permit by aviation regulator DGCA, with all flight operations remaining suspended since then. Asked about impasse in the cash-strapped carrier, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said, "Salary is a big issue and employees should be paid. But the bigger issue than that is their fiscal assurance to the DGCA ... They have a lot of outstanding to the Airports Authority (of India), to companies, to lessors, so its not just a question of salaries to the employees."
He said their flying licence, though suspended, was "still there but to allow them to fly again, the DGCA has to be satisfied on many more things." Noting that the airline had not yet submitted any revival plan to the DGCA, Singh said, "It is not a question of me being hopeful or not, in my view, it's a very difficult proposition but not impossible."
In response to Aggarwal's mail to all employees offering staggered payment of three months' salary dues, the airline's Delhi-based engineering staff on Wednesday shot off a letter, asking the management to "pay the salary from Mar 2012 to Jun 2012 at one go on or before 26/10/12 1800 hrs."