Kingfisher extends partial lock-out till October 12

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Mumbai, Oct 5: The Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) has decided to extend its partial lock-out period till Oct 12. This means the airline, which was once the second-largest in the country, will see a long closure.

Last Monday, the Vijay Mallya-owned KFA, following the labourer unrest that led to cancellation of all its fights, declared a three-day lock-out. But as the employees continued with their agitation after the airline authorities failed to assure their salaries pending for seven months, the carrier had no other option but to remain grounded.

About 200 engineers and 100-odd pilots of the airline have been agitating demanding their salaries. The wife of one of the Delhi-based engineers working with the airline even committed suicide on Thursday owing to the financial mess caused by the non-payment of salaries. There is very little chance of the airline, which operated about 70 flights even till the last week, to resume operations in the near future.

One of the Kingfisher official said nobody was certain about when the KFA would resume its flight services. The striking employees have stood firm on their position, saying they will join duty only once their due salaries were cleared.

Sources, however, said that it was unlikely that the airline will be able to pay full salaries to its employees. At present, the monthly salary outgo for the KFA stands at around Rs 20 crore. Half of the airline employees were paid their March salaries but to pay the outstanding salaries, the airline needs another Rs 10 crore. The airline's net loss in 2010-11 was Rs 1,027 crore which doubled to reach Rs 2,328 crore in 2011-12. The KFA also owes money to 17 banks.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has also said the KFA could not operate flights till it cleared all pending salaries and addressed the employees' grievance on security grounds.

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