Mumbai: Cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines Ltd has brought in former chairman and managing director of Air India Ltd and current vice-chairman of UB Group, Subhash R. Gupte, to pacify its striking employees, said two people aware of the developments requesting anonoymity.
UB Group is the parent company of Kingfisher Airlines.
Gupte will lead negotiations with representatives of Kingfisher employees on Wednesday in an attempt to end the days-long stalemate. Sammy D. Lalla, joint president (spirit division), UB Group, will also participate in the negotiations.
“The meeting place is kept as confidential. The meeting will be led by Gupte, other UB Group executives and Kingfisher Airlines management representatives,” an employee representative who will be at the meeting said, requesting anonymity.
A Kingfisher Airlines spokesperson offered no comments. Gupte and Lalla could not be reached immediately.
Kingfisher Airlines has extended its lockout to 20 October, continuing the shutdown that began on 1 October because of employee unrest over unpaid salaries. The lockout was supposed to end on 12 October, but the airline couldn’t submit a revival plan that the regulator had sought.
“The company is continuing to work with and appeal to the employees striking work to return to work so that the airline can share its resumption plan with DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) and gain their concurrence,” the airline said last week. The carrier said it was hopeful of resuming operations on 21 October.
Mint reported on 10 October that Kingfisher Airlines was likely to extend its lockout and had suspended ticket sales until 20 October.
DGCA sent a show-cause notice on 5 October to Kingfisher asking why its licence should not be cancelled. The airline has to reply to that by 20 October.
“All flights are subject to regulatory approval,” the Kingfisher Airlines website says.
Gupte, a chartered accountant, was an acting chairman and managing director of Air India as well as a deputy managing director during his tenure with Air India, and chairman of Hotel Corp. of India. He has been a director on the boards of both public sector and private companies in India and abroad.