Kingfisher struggles to stay afloat

New Delhi: As beleaguered Kingfisher Airlines on Monday struggled to stay afloat after further large-scale flight disruptions, Indian Government ruled out any bailout for the private carrier. "No, government is not going to have any bailout," Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh told reporters here, adding, "Government cannot go around asking banks to lend money (for private airlines)".

"As far as Kingfisher or any other private airline is concerned, they have to present their business plan to the banks and if they (banks) are satisfied with that, and if it is within Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guidelines, then they will lend money," he said. The crisis for the cash-strapped airline grew deeper with at least 30 flights being cancelled on Monday, including those to Bangkok, Singapore, Kathmandu and Dhaka, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded at various airports across the country.

Monday`s cancellations included 14 from western Indian city Mumbai, seven from eastern city Kolkata and six from the capital city Delhi. Concerned over the sudden cancellations and passenger inconvenience, aviation regulator DGCA summoned the airline`s CEO Sanjay Agarwal and top officials to appear before them on Wednesday to explain the large-scale disruptions in the operations and the reasons. Under Rule 140(A) of the Aircraft Rules, 1937, airlines need prior approval of DGCA to curtail their flight schedules.

Any violation can amount to cancellation of the flight permit of an airline, as an extreme step. Meanwhile, the Vijay Mallya-owned airline, whose bank accounts have been frozen for non-payment of taxes, virtually blamed the Income Tax authorities for the large-scale flight disruptions, saying freezing of the accounts had led to the curtailment in its services.