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Clearing the air: Kingfisher Airlines chairman Vijay Mallya. Photo: Adeel Halim/Bloomberg

Clearing the air: Kingfisher Airlines chairman Vijay Mallya. Photo: Adeel Halim/Bloomberg

Mallya likely to meet DGCA chief

Mallya likely to meet DGCA chief

New Delhi: Kingfisher Airlines Ltd’s chairman Vijay Mallya is expected to meet director general of civil aviation Bharat Bhushan on Wednesday in the first such meeting after the regulator issued its safety findings on the carrier earlier this month.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had commissioned a financial audit of Kingfisher after the carrier curtailed flights because of a lack of money for repair and overhaul of planes. Other airlines were also audited in this survey and the findings pointed out to them.

Clearing the air: Kingfisher Airlines chairman Vijay Mallya. Photo: Adeel Halim/Bloomberg

Kingfisher chief executive Sanjay Aggarwal met Bhushan on the safety report earlier this month and promised to take action.

The airline will be asked to resolve the safety issues found in the report within a time frame, said a second government official, who also declined to be named. He declined to specify the time frame.

“There is a difference of opinion on how far can you go with this. Everyone needs to be taken on board," this official said, referring to pressure on the regulator to ease its stand.

DGCA’s December report had recommended that a “reasonable case exists for withdrawal of their (Kingfisher’s) airline operator permit (licence) as their financial stress is likely to impinge on safety".

Mallya could not be reached for comment immediately. A phone text message sent to him remained unanswered at the time of going to press.

Earlier this fortnight, Mallya had reacted sharply to the report.

“Kingfisher is 1,000% safe to fly. Safety is our absolute priority. We would never take the slightest chance or compromise," Mallya said in a Twitter post.

The summer flight plan for the airline may also come up for discussion at Wednesday’s meeting. Kingfisher may be looking at a second round of flight cuts starting April. It has told the regulator it plans to use 38-39 aircraft compared with the 44 it currently uses to operate flights, Mint reported on 11 January. Kingfisher has a total fleet of 64 aircraft.

A reduction of five aircraft could lead to a curtailment of about 30 daily flights, depending on the type of planes it plans to stop using. It currently has about 270-280 daily flights.

tarun.s@livemint.com

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