Kingfisher expects to resume operations in 'near future'

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Kingfisher Airlines expects operations to resume in the "near future" even as its net loss for the quarter ended 30 September widened to Indian rupees (Rs) 7.54 billion ($139 million).

The beleaguered carrier, which has been in a holding pattern and operating a limited schedule since March 2012, is now preparing a comprehensive plan to resume operations. The plan will be shared with the country's directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) and bankers.

"The company has settled its disputes with employees who have all returned to work and is in the process of submitting the revival plan to DGCA, and is confident that it will be able to have the suspension of the operating permit revoked and resume operations at the earliest," says the carrier.

It adds that its difficult cash flow situation continued in the quarter, resulting in the delay of salaries and curtailed fleet operations.

In the quarter, Kingfisher also terminated some agreements so as to cut costs, while certain parties did the same as the carrier defaulted in payments.

"The company has incurred substantial losses and its network has been eroded," it says.

Kingfisher now has Rs53.5 billion in long-term borrowings and another Rs32.8 billion in short-term borrowings.

"The airline is in discussion with various stakeholders to ensure that there are no future disruptions. Kingfisher Airlines expects to resume operations in the near future," it adds.

Kingfisher grounded its fleet and suspended operations on 1 October after many employees went on strike because of the non-payment of salaries. India's DGCA then suspended Kingfisher's air operator's certificate on 20 October after the airline failed to "satisfactorily" respond to a show cause notice.

The airline is unlikely to be able to resume operations for at least six months after it was excluded from India's 2012 winter schedule for domestic carriers. The airline was given 2,930 weekly flights in the 2011 winter schedule, but the DGCA did not allocate any to it this year.

This means the carrier will probably have to wait until the regulator allocates slots to it in the Indian summer schedule before it resumes operations.