Kingfisher grounds flights for another week

Kingfisher grounds flights for another week

Troubled Indian airline Kingfisher has grounded flights for another week due to a continuing dispute with staff over unpaid salaries.

Flights were expected to resume yesterday (Thursday) after a weekend strike, but in a statement issued last night Kingfisher spokesman Prakash Mirpuri expressed "regret" that staff had refused to return to work.

"We regret that the illegal strike has still not been withdrawn and normalcy has not been restored in the company, thereby continuing to cripple and paralyse the working of the entire airline," Mirpuri said.

After the government relaxed investment rules last month allowing foreign airlines to buy up to a 49% stake in domestic carriers in India, the airline said discussions were taking place which could allow overseas operators to invest in it.

The airline is saddled with $1.4 billion in debt, owed mostly to government banks led by State Bank of India, and been unable to find an overseas airline or other investor to inject fresh equity into the company.

Kingfisher's company secretary, Bharath Raghavan, has also resigned, the airline said.

Before this week, Kingfisher, once India's second-largest airline, was flying only 10 planes out of a fleet that once numbered 64.




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