Kingfisher's future uncertain despite employee agreement

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Uncertainty remains over whether Kingfisher Airlines will be able to restart operations, even though the beleaguered Indian carrier says it has reached an agreement with its striking employees.

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

However, Kingfisher said on 25 October that it has reached an agreement with its striking employees and that they have "agreed to resume work and report for duty immediately". Indian news reports said that the airline had agreed to pay at least four months worth of salaries before Christmas.

"We will now finalise and present our resumption plan to the DGCA and hope to get their concurrence soon," says the airline.

Kingfisher, however, 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 time round.

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.