28-Mar-2012 8:59 AM

Kingfisher cut summer 2012 network as operations are placed in 'holding pattern'

Kingfisher Airlines has begun (27-Mar-2012) the 2012 summer schedule operating approximately 120 daily services with 20 dedicated aircraft. The carrier has previously announced the suspension of international services. The schedule has reportedly resulted in the termination of 28 of its 56 destinations, affecting 40-50% of its 7000 staff, according to local medial reports from PTI, IANS, Business Standard, The Hindu, Live Mint and The Economic Times. Kingfisher Airlines VP corporate communications Prakash Mirpuri said this is a "holding plan" that has been put in place pending recapitalisation and return to full utilisation of the aircraft fleet. "In this 'holding plan' we have taken adequate care to ensure that part of our core inter-metro schedule is retained, while connectivity is maintained to many cities where we are the sole operator. This is to ensure that public interest is not compromised," he said. Details include:

  • Reliability: The carrier stated with the schedule, it is aimed the carrier will "maintain schedule integrity with 100% reliability";
  • Safety: Kingfisher noted the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is "monitoring our safety standards on a constant basis"; 
  • Route cancellations: As a result of this "holding plan", there are several destinations which have been temporarily suspended, including some services to Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Kolkata and Lucknow. The carrier will, however, maintain skeletal staff at the airport. The carrier noted "since we could resume operations after getting re-capitalised, most staff at these stations have been asked to stay at home whilst remaining on the Company's rolls";
  • Staff reductions: Kingfisher, responding to media speculation on potential lay-offs, stated: "To clarify, we are in a 'holding' pattern right now and are waiting for various decisions from the Government and our Consortium of Bankers on FDI policy, working capital funding, etc. All of these will have a major impact on the staffing decisions we will have to make". He continued: "We would dearly like to retain our staff who have remained incredibly dedicated and loyal under extremely trying circumstances. Our immediate priority is to access our funds to pay outstanding staff salaries";
  • Tax dues: The carrier has paid INR440 million (USD8.7 million) towards its tax dues which was due on or before 27-Mar-2012; 
  • Outlook: "Our keen intent is to get re-capitalised and to bounce back as a major player in Civil Aviation which is a major public utility service providing vital connectivity, large scale employment, competition for consumer benefit and contributing to the economic growth of India. We will also protect the interests of all stakeholders, suppliers and service providers as an integral part of our recapitalisation plans," the carrier said. [more - original PR]

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