Cloud over Kingfisher plan

New Delhi, Dec. 26: Grounded carrier Kingfisher Airlines has failed to provide a clear funding plan in its turnaround proposal submitted to the regulator, civil aviation minister Ajit Singh said today.

The airline had submitted a revival plan to the directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) on Monday to resume limited operations.

The Vijay Mallya-led airline has not flown since October and has estimated debts of Rs 8,000 crore. It owes money to its employees, banks, airports, tax authorities and aircraft leasing companies.

Singh said the airline needed to come up with a concrete financial turnaround plan without which the chances of getting back its flying licence seemed unlikely.

Kingfisher has also not confirmed the plan whether UB Group would be pooling in funds, Singh said. "That is Mallya's wish to start, but UB Group did not say they were going to give anything."

Earlier, Mallya had offered to inject Rs 425 crore into the airline through internal resources to get it airborne again.

Banks, too, want Mallya to commit funds to the airline.

Last month, Mallya sold a majority stake in United Spirits to Diageo for $2.1 billion. It was expected that part of this money would be used to pay debt and infuse capital into the airline.

According to ministry officials, the plan submitted by Kingfisher Airlines' chief executive officer Sanjay Aggarwal is sketchy.

"KFA has submitted its plan, which we had sought as a precondition for revoking its suspended flying licence. However, the carrier has not explained many aspects related to finance that need to be pumped in before it is allowed to fly again," a DGCA official said.

The DGCA officials had earlier said the decision to renew or revoke its flying permit couldn't be taken till it submitted a comprehensive financial and operational plan for revival. The airline has stopped all ticket bookings on its entire network. The employees claim they are yet to get eight months' salary.


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