New Delhi: Kingfisher Airlines Ltd, grounded since October, is looking to resume flights by March provided it receives regulatory approval to do so. The airline’s licence is set to expire at midnight on Monday.
The Vijay Mallya-promoted airline submitted a flight resumption plan to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on 17 December. Kingfisher executives met regulatory officials on Saturday for a second time to answer queries on the resumption plan, Mallya said.
The licence can be renewed within two years of its expiry through an application, said Mallya, chairman of Kingfisher Airlines.
“Expiry of the licence is not a big deal,” said a senior Kingfisher Airlines executive, requesting anonymity. “We will shortly submit a fresh revival plan in a week to 10 days and renew the licence. We are looking at re-starting operations with seven planes by March.”
He said the DGCA is likely to renew the “organization approval” of the engineering division of the airline on Monday to certify aircraft in the event of flights restarting. “This is a positive signal and indicates that DGCA is supporting us in our revival.” Calls made to DGCA Arun Mishra did not elicit any response.
As part of the plan submitted by Kingfisher Airlines, the parent UB Group will inject Rs.652 crore to restart flights by March with seven planes. “DGCA will renew the licence only if the revival plan is satisfactory. Mallya has said that UB Group will inject Rs.652 crore, but there is no official assurance from the group,” said a senior aviation ministry official, requesting anonymity.
Shares of Kingfisher Airlines dropped 2.3% to Rs.14.92 on Monday, extending its loss for the year to 29.1%. BSE Ltd’s benchmark Sensex edged down 0.09% to 19,426.71; the index gained 25.7 % in 2012. Airports Authority of India (AAI) chairman V.P. Agarwal said Kingfisher Airlines will have to pay what it owes the airport operator before restarting operations. The state-run AAI also plans to ask the carrier to vacate space at its airports. At least 17 lenders led by the State Bank of India will meet next week to decide their future course of action.