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Wednesday, February 22, 2012 12:37:02 PM (IST)  

Kingfisher Cancels 20 Flights, DGCA to Brief Aviation Minister

New Delhi, Feb 22 (PTI): Kingfisher Airlines cancelled about 20 flights today even as the DGCA was set to brief the Civil Aviation Minister on the ailing carrier's plans to restore its services.

The airline is expected to submit a fresh flight schedule to the DGCA which had asked it to come up with a "realistic" schedule which can be operated by 28 out of its 64 aircraft.

DGCA chief E K Bharat Bhushan would meet Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh today to brief him about the discussions he had with the Kingfisher top brass yesterday and the airline's plan to restore its schedule over the next few days.

Among the flights cancelled this morning were 14 from Mumbai and two from Delhi.
Reports said the airlines was partially restoring its operations from Kolkata especially flights from there to the Northeast. All operations from Kolkata were shut down from Friday night.
The DGCA chief had yesterday said that the airlines will have to file a new schedule instead of a truncated one in the next 24 hours.

The cash-strapped carrier, facing the wrath of Income Tax authorities which has frozen its bank accounts, was operating only 28 of its 64 planes, leading to large-scale disruption of its schedule.

At least 40 flights were cancelled across its national network yesterday. Kingfisher, which suffered a loss of Rs 1,027 crore in 2010-11 and has a debt of Rs 7,057.08 crore, posted a Rs 444 crore loss in third quarter this fiscal.

Asserting that the government was not going to bail out the ailing private airline as it cannot be compared with Air India, the Minister said it was for the banks to decide whether to pump in more money in Kingfisher.

"We have made it clear and I am sure Mr (Vijay) Mallya knows that Air India is a government concern. Whatever help we give them (Air India), we cannot do it to any private industry.

"...we have said it before that banks will decide that (pumping in more money). Government is not going to interfere in it. Banks have to follow RBI guidelines. They have to worry about their NPAs (non-performing assets). They have to decide on the basis of the business plan of the company. If they are satisfied with the business plan, they can lend money," Singh said.

He said he did not want the airline to be shut down.

"Our priority now is that whatever flights they are still operating, the passenger safety should not be compromised. We are not going to bailout Kingfisher but we hope it can mobilise resources or deposits. If they don't, there will be more problems for passengers," Singh said.

On questions on cancellation of flights by the private airline, he said it should have informed the DGCA and passengers.

"...we will take whatever action but the bigger question is how Kingfisher survives," he said.

Asked about FDI in aviation sector, he said it was not proper link to the issue with the present crisis because even if the government does it in the near future, it will take time.

"Nobody is going to invest billions of rupees or dollars just within a day or two," he said.

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