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Kingfisher extends lockout till October 12

Publication Date : 05-10-2012


Ailing Kingfisher Airlines tonight extended its partial lockout by a week till October 12, as talks between its management and employees failed to break the deadlock over non-payment of salaries for the last seven months.

The beleaguered airline, meanwhile, got some reprieve as bankers agreed to release funds from escrow accounts, which is likely to release up to 60 crore rupees for the carrier. (One crore is equivalent to 10,000,000.)

In an apparent fallout of the worsening crisis in Vijay Mallya-owned private carrier, the wife of one of its Delhi-based employees allegedly committed suicide, apparently due to financial stress for non-payment of salary to her husband for five months.

The airline also informed the National Stock Exchange that its company secretary Bharath Raghavan has quit the company.

Regretting that the “illegal strike” by a section of the airline employees has still not been withdrawn and normalcy yet to be restored, a late night statement by Kingfisher said it is constrained to extend the partial lockout till October 12.

About 100 Kingfisher employees, including engineers and pilots, took out a candlelight march from domestic airport in Mumbai to Kingfisher House to mourn the death of Susmita, the wife of Manas Chakarvarti, a technician with the airline.

Kingfisher Airline CEO Sanjay Agarwal and executive vice-president Hitesh Patel met the airline's Delhi-based staff, including engineers and pilots, to convince them to rejoin duty.

Sources said the management offered the March salary to the employees and promised to pay the remaining six months' salary once the airline is re-capitalised. This offer was rejected by the employees for the second time in two days.

In stock markets, Kingfisher share tumbled by about five per cent, falling for the fourth straight day. The scrip tanked 4.79 per cent to hit the lower circuit limit of 13.90 rupees on the Bombay Stock Exchange.
Union civil aviation minister Ajit Singh expressed doubts whether the carrier, facing a partial lockout, would resume its operations soon. He said the airline should be in a position to get its planes certified and satisfy the DGCA that the schedule which they have given is maintained.

With reports from PTI

*US$1=51.6 rupees


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