Kingfisher Airlines will not close down despite the current crisis at the cash-strapped carrier, promoter Vijay Mallya said on Monday.
On Tuesday, Kingfisher cancelled around 23 flights, according to media reports. More than 100 flights have been cancelled by Kingfisher in the last three days.
"Closing down is not an option. It will not happen. The government does not want it to happen. It is not in national interest," said Mallya.
"Why should we give up as long as we get help. Help is not bailout. We have asked banks to consider our proposal to provide more working capital," he said, making it clear that the airline has never asked for a bailout from the government.”
The airline has cancelled 32 out of the 240 flights that it operates each day, it said on Saturday, adding that it expected to return to full service within days.
The airline said it was forced to cancel some flights in recent days because tax authorities had frozen its bank accounts.
The move has hit the carrier’s ability to make operational payments, it said in a statement on Monday.
"We are in dialogue with the tax authorities to agree a payment plan and get the bank accounts unfrozen at the earliest," Kingfisher said.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation on Monday asked Kingfisher Airlines to explain why it has cancelled a large number of flights since Saturday, while the government again ruled out providing any aid to the loss-making carrier.
"It is a very serious matter, we recognise it and DGCA has called Kingfisher to find out what's going on, what are their plans and why did they not anticipate the problems and inform DGCA before," Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh told reporters.
The government does not have any bailout plan for the cash-strapped airline, he added.
"Government is not going to ask banks to bail out any private airline, or any private industry for that matter," Singh was quoted as saying by NDTV.
Kingfisher CEO Sanjay Aggarwal has been summoned by the DGCA even as the airline is going through a rough patch, with employees – including pilots – not having been paid their salaries for some time now.Aggarwal will appear before the DGCA on Tuesday to explain the cancellation of flights.
More than 50 pilots have resigned in the past week, according to media reports.
The company’s shares were trading around 11 percent lower on both, BSE and NSE indices, just after markets opened on Tuesday.
Shares of Kingfisher have fallen about 60 percent since the beginning of 2011, while the BSE Sensex has lost about 10 percent in the period, Reuters said.
Intense completion, low fares and high fuel prices have squeezed profits of Indian carriers this year.
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