Gurgaon, Oct.21: Aviation experts have welcomed and hailed the decision of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), India’s apex aviation regulatory body, to suspend the license of Kingfisher Airlines.
Promoted by liquor baron Vijay Mallya, the self-styled ‘King of Good Times’ and currently seven months behind on salary payments among other missed bills, Kingfisher’s fleet has been grounded since the start of the month when a staff protest turned violent.
Commenting on these developments, former DGCA member Kanu Gohan said that the airlines had been given sufficient time to sort out its business plans, but it had failed to deliver.
“A very correct decision has been taken by the DGCA to suspend Kingfisher Airlines. Kingfisher had been given an opportunity to prove that their services were reliable and safe. But in response, even after getting so much time, Kingfisher could not provide a convincing business plan to DGCA,” said Gohan.
The airlines that has never made a profit since being founded in 2004 and reeling under 1.4 billion dollars of debt will have its license reinstated if it provides a plan that satisfies DGCA.
Meanwhile, another aviation expert in New Delhi, Harshvardhan, said the DGCA took the best possible decision taking into consideration the interest of the passengers that had been suffering due to crisis in Kingfisher.
“It has been struggling with viability issues, cash flow shortages, constant disruptions in their schedule, the employees’ unrest; they are walking out from time-to-time. So I think DGCA has to take a holistic view and DGCA was within it’s right because it is causing inconvenience travelling public,” said Harshvardhan.
However, a source who declined to be named as he is not permitted to speak to the media mentioned that a complete cancellation of the license was unlikely at which the spokesperson of Kingfisher Airlines refused to comment.
The company’s steep decline underlined the problems of operating in India’s civil aviation sector, where players grappling with rising fuel costs and face aggressive pricing caused by overcapacity.
The move had been widely expected after Kingfisher failed to respond properly to queries from the regulator regarding its ability to provide a “safe, efficient and reliable service”.
On Friday, Kingfisher Airlines had claimed that expectations are high as for resuming its flight operations on November 06 if the government approved it.
The Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation has observed that a fully funded turnaround for Kingfisher would cost at least a billion dollars. (ANI)