scorecardresearch

Kingfisher Airlines set to extend lockout as management-pilots talks continue

Kingfisher Airlines's management will be meeting striking pilots and engineers again on October 22 in a bid to end the three-week imbroglio and is expected to extend the lockout beyong October 20.

PHOTO: Associated Press PHOTO: Associated Press
Kingfisher Airlines's management will be meeting striking pilots and engineers again on October 22 in a bid to end the three-week imbroglio. The Vijay Mallya-owned carrier, grounded since September 29, is thus expected to extend the lockout for a second time.

Earlier on Wednesday, the airline's management - led by CEO Sanjay Aggarwal and HR head Hitesh Patel - met the representatives of pilots and engineers for nearly three hours at the Shaw Wallace House in south Mumbai, to iron out issues arising out of seven months of unpaid salaries.

According to some pilots, the management offered to pay one-month salary immediately to resume operations. But the employees have not accepted the proposal as of now.

"We have agreed to meet again on Monday next," two pilots told PTI late in the evening after the meeting, which was described by both Aggarwal and employees as "very good and moving in the right direction".

After the meeting, Aggarwal told reporters that they will have to look at extending the lockout a second time beyond October 20, as the meeting with the striking employees on Wednesday failed to resolve the deadlock .

When contacted to confirm the Monday meeting and the extension of the lockout, UB Group President Ravi Nedugandi said: "Only the airline spokesman can speak on such matters".

Kingfisher Airlines spokesperson did not answer phone calls and text messages.

Earlier this month, banks released around Rs 60 crore to Kingfisher Airlines from an escrow account of service tax department on "humanitarian grounds" to pay salaries to the employees.

The private airline's monthly wage bills stand around Rs 20 crore.

With inputs from PTI