Kingfisher Airlines again submits revival plan

New Delhi, April 10 (IANS) Financially stretched Kingfisher Airlines Wednesday submitted a plan to restart operations to the aviation regulator which had cancelled its flying licence over safety concerns last year.

“We have submitted a complete (revival) plan. We have requested (the Directorate General of Civil Aviation) for restoring our license (Scheduled Operator’s Permit – SoP),” Kingfisher Airlines CEO Sanjay Aggarwal told reporters after meeting DGCA chief Arun Mishra here.

“We have given a complete plan, which includes our schedule that we plan to operate, the aircraft we plan to operate and the number of people we have. The entire plan has been shared,” Aggarwal said.

According to Aggarwal, the company plans to initially start operations with funding coming in from the parent UB (United Breweries) Group, with a total fleet of seven aircraft.

“We plan to start with five Airbus and two ATR aircraft,” he said.

The funding alone is estimated at around Rs.650 crore to pay salaries, refurbish planes and fund operations.

The company earlier submitted a similar plan to the DGCA in December 2012, after the aviation regulator cancelled its flying licence over safety concerns on Oct 20, 2012.

The airline was then asked to prepare a credible revival plan and present it to the DGCA, which will take a final call on restoring the airline’s operating licence.

However, the last plan was rejected, dashing the airline’ hopes to restart in the current summer schedule.

The airline has not been given any slot in the ongoing summer schedule prepared by the DGCA. It has not operated flights since Oct 1, 2012, after a lockout following a strike.

The last plan was revealed on Jan 10, 2013, by Kingfisher Airlines’ chairman Vijay Mallya to the company’s employees, intimating them of a two-step approach to re-start the carrier.

The first part dealt with a limited re-start utilising seven aircraft ramping up to 21 aircraft in four months, which is quite similar to the current plan submitted Wednesday.

The second part of the plan had envisaged a full-scale rehabilitation of the airline by increasing the fleet size to 57 aircraft within 12 months of recapitalisation.

The airline’s suspended flying licence expired on Dec 31, 2012. Under the government provisions, the airline has two years for applying afresh for the renewing of licence.

The airline has a total debt of Rs.7,000 crore from a consortium of banks, which are planning to sell the company’s assest to recover their loans.

The airline is also trying to woo foreign investors by putting up nearly 46 percent of the permitted 49 percent stake in the company for sale. The company was said to be in talks with Middle East-based airlines for a possible stake sale.

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