The scrip of Vijay Mallya-led Kingfisher Airlines on Friday plummeted to a new low on the stock market on concerns about the airline's viability, even as it continued to cap the number of flights it operates daily.
At the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), the Kingfisher Airline stock fell over 19 per cent in early trade to a new low of Rs 17.55.
It later pared some of the losses to close the trade at Rs 19.65, down 9.45 per cent on BSE. The scrip faced similar pressures on NSE, trading at Rs 19.65, down 9.45 per cent.
The carrier continued to curtail 32 of its daily flights for the fourth consecutive day, as it has been hit by technical and labour issues.
The airline defended the move to reduce the number of flights saying it was done in order to rationalise the route plan and improve yields.
PERSPECTIVE: Hard times for Kingfisher
"We decide to reduce (flights) on some routes to rationalise our flight plans and to reconfigure our aircraft, as we thought it was the right time to do so. UB group has continued to support us, so there is no question about the future or the viability of the airline," Sanjay Aggarwal, chief executive Kingfisher Airlines, told a news channel.
Around 100 pilots have quit the airline but Aggarwal said such attrition levels were normal for the aviation business.
"...100 pilots have quit over the several months. There is a natural attrition which happens in any airline."
The cash-strapped airline had in September shut down its low-cost carrier arm Kingfisher Red as part of a series of restructuring activities, which included reducing business class seats and increasing the number of economy seats aimed at increasing capacity by around 10 per cent.
Meanwhile, Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi on Friday said he would talk to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to get cash-strapped airline some financial assistance to help it come out of the major trouble as hundreds of its flights were being grounded and pilots quitting en masse.
- With inputs from IANS