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Kingfisher Airlines left 'crippled' as 80 engineers quit

Kingfisher Airlines left 'crippled' as 80 engineers quit

Kingfisher Airlines, Vijay Mallya's beleaguered carrier, has been dealt another blow. About 80 engineers have quit during the past four months due to non-payment of salaries.

Kingfisher Airlines, Vijay Mallya's beleaguered carrier, has been dealt another blow. About 80 engineers have quit during the past four months due to non-payment of salaries by the near-bankrupt carrier.

Also, around 200 engineers reported sick in April this year protesting delay in salaries.

Relegated to the bottom of the market pie with its share nose-diving to a mere 5.2 per cent in May from as high as 20 per cent last year on account of a truncated flights, Kingfisher has not paid salary to its employees since February.

"Some 60-80 engineers have already quit the carrier in the last 4-5 months, as they could not sustain non-payment of salaries. And more are planning to do so," airline sources told PTI.

Some more engineers are in the process of bidding good-bye to the carrier, sources said, adding that "if the trend continues, the airline may face severe shortage of engineers."

Unfazed by the large exodus, a Kingfisher Airlines spokesperson said in a text message: "We have sufficient number of engineers to support our operations."

The airline, which has not posted profit since its inception in May 2005, made a loss of Rs 1,151.5 crore in the March quarter and has debt of over Rs 7,500 crore and an equal amount of accumulated losses.

Bangalore-based Kingfisher Airlines, which has also been defaulting on tax payments as well as bills to its vendors, has been seeking fresh bank funds since last December apart from trying to raise overseas funds unsuccessfully.

But bankers have been resisting the demand saying the promoters, including Chairman Vijay Mallya himself, have to bring in at least Rs 2,000 crore in fresh capital to consider the demand.

Kingfisher had pledged assets ranging from its brand to office furniture for Rs 6,400 crore bank loans, according to the finance ministry. This includes a luxury villa in Goa, two helicopters, a building in Mumbai and shares have also been used as collateral for loans as of November 2011, Minister of State for Finance Namo Narain Meena had told Parliament last December.

With inputs from PTI