In more trouble for Kingfisher Airlines, aviation regulator DGCA on Thursday issued a show-cause notice asking why its flying license should not be suspended or cancelled as it had grounded its entire fleet and failed to offer safe and reliable service.
With the liquor baron Vijay Mallya-owned airline having declared a lockout till October 12, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issued the notice to the crisis-ridden carrier, giving it 15 days to reply.
In the notice, DGCA Chief Arun Mishra said it had been observed that the airline was not adhering to its flight schedule and "abruptly cancelling their flights time and again during the last 10 months", causing great inconvenience to the travelling public.
He also took note of the lockout which had led to "suspension of all their flights" and that the airline had "failed to establish a safe, efficient and reliable services as required" under the rules.
Maintaining that this amounted to Kingfisher not complying with the provisions of the Aircraft Rules 1937, the regulator asked the airline why action should not be taken against it for this "violation".
Kingfisher had declared a lockout on September 28 till October four, cancelling its entire flight schedule, and extended it till October 12 last night. The lockout was declared after the management failed to resolve the deadlock with its striking employees, including engineers and pilots, over non-payment of salaries for last seven months.
Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh took a strong note of the situation facing the private carrier and said besides the lockout, the DGCA was also studying the implications of the strike by the employees.
"There are a lot of factors involved in it, including the salaries of the employees, their disgruntlement issues and others. If the employees are disgruntled there is an issue of safety. In order to give them permission to fly, they have to satisfy the DGCA on all these issues," he said.
In Delhi and Mumbai, the angry staff of the liquor baron Vijay Mallya-owned airline staged protest demonstrations wearing black-bands and carrying placards, to demand speedy disbursal of their dues.
In the evening, they held a candle-light vigil in Delhi to condole the death of the wife of a Kingfisher employee who committed suicide yesterday, apparently because of financial stress due to non-payment of salaries.