Kingfisher talking to tenants to avoid eviction

Mumbai: The Vijaya Mallaya-promoted Kingfisher Airlines continues to hit air pockets with two real estate developers now slapping eviction notice for allegedly defaulting on rent payments since last November.

The airlines sources confirmed the development and said the management is negotiating with the developers to resolve the deadlock. The cash-strapped airline has a rented property in the Andheri suburb of the city, from where it is running a part of its operations, while the main administrative office is located at the Kingfisher House, which the promoter Mallya has been planning to monetise to raise some working capital funds for the airline.

"Senior airlines representatives are in talks with some of the developers for quite some time now to resolve the deadlock and arrive at a solution," Kingfisher Airlines sources told PTI here today.

The airline spokesperson, however, was not available for comments. The notice by city-based developers- Samruddha Realtors and Dhruvam Realtors- is understood to have been served on April 11 through their solicitors, giving a month`s time to vacate the space held by the airline at Andheri (East).

The cash-strapped carrier has been struggling for survival for nearly a year and has been defaulting on payments against lease rentals, oil purchases, landing and parking fee and even service tax and TDS. The airline has a debt burden of over Rs 7,000 crore and accumulated losses of Rs 6,400 crore. It also owes around Rs 280 crore towards the Airports Authority of India and Rs 518 crore to Hindustan Petroleum in fuel dues.

In the absence of any succor from lenders, the airline has reduced its operations to one-third from 400 flights a day with just 20 aircrafts. Income and service tax authorities had many a time frozen its bank account for defaulting on tax payments.