Kingfisher Fails to Renew License Causing Withdrawal of Flights
Monday, 4th March 2013 at 03:44am
Driving the final nail to Kingfisher Airlines' coffin, the Indian government announced early this week the withdrawal of all flight entitlements allocated to the dormant airline after it failed to renew its license after its expiry on December 31, 2012.
The flight entitlements withdrawn include both the domestic and international service network of erstwhile second-largest airline in India. The stripping of its flight entitlements mean that the grounded airline lost its rights to those slots should it operate again. All the entitlements will now be assigned to other Indian airlines.
According to Civil Aviation Ministry official, Kingfisher used to have the most slots it was entitled to fly with 126 across India and 8 other countries in the region.
Flying slots are entitlements granted to a scheduled airline by the country's regulating agency and airport operator for use within the specific period. If unused for long period without any sufficient reasons, these entitlements shall be defaulted and they will be assigned to other airlines who need them.
For its international flight allocations, the total withdrawn slots is equivalent to approximately 25,000 seats a week which are now available for reassignment to other airlines who ask for such entitlement to those 8 countries.
Since entitlements for international flights are subject to approval in a bilateral air services agreement between two governments, the Indian government will need to initiate talks again with its counterpart from 8 countries for the reassignment of such entitlements to other Indian airlines.
In order of the most entitlements per week, these countries include Sri Lanka (35), UAE (21), Thailand (21), Bangladesh (14), Hong Kong (14), Nepal (7), UK (7), and Singapore (7).
Kingfisher Airlines got the above traffic rights or entitlements for use between 2008 and 2011.
The withdrawn domestic flights allocations across its network, likewise, shall be subject to reassignment to other domestic airlines by Airports Authority of India (AAI), as per government's order.
Officials from Kingfisher Airlines refused to issue comments regarding the latest development.
It has been noted that the license of the Vijay Mallya-owned airline was suspended in October last year for its failure to resolve issues most of which are non-payment of huge debts it has piled for years as well as non-payment of salaries to its employees.
The airline failed to renew its license before it expired on December 31, 2012. But before that, it reportedly submitted an interim rehabilitation plan to operate again but DGCA was not satisfied with it, sending the airline into its natural demise.
Its lenders, a consortium of banks, are now in the process of recovering a staggering amount of Rs7,500 crore, the unpaid loan from the doomed airline.
By: Pete Lee.