Beleaguered Kingfisher Airlines will submit revised flights schedule to DGCA by 12 pm on Monday according to reports, after it was given a 24-hr deadline by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to come up with a "realistic" flight schedule on Tuesday. The DGCA which ruled out any immediate punitive action to avert further difficulties to air travellers even as the carrier scrapped 40 more flights.
"The airlines will have to file a new schedule instead of a truncated one in the next 24 hours," DGCA chief EK Bharat Bhushan told reporters after the regulator quizzed Kingfisher CEO Sanjay Aggarwal and top officials on how they plan to get the crisis-ridden airlines back on track.
The cash-strapped carrier, facing the wrath of Income Tax authorities which have frozen its bank accounts, was operating only 28 of its 64 planes, leading to large-scale disruption of its schedule for the fifth consecutive day.
At least 40 flights were cancelled across its national network on Tuesday.
"To be on the safer side, we have decided to go for safety surveillance of all of their operating aircraft," said Bhushan.
Asked whether DGCA was contemplating cracking the whip on Kingfisher, he said, "let us not talk of punitive action at the moment. We are more interested to see the airline back on its feet. Our priority is not to punish ... because of the immediate difficulties the travelling public will have to face."
A day after he ruled out any Government bailout for Kingfisher, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said Government will have to hear them out.
"We have to hear them out. We don't know what their plans are, how they are going to restore normalcy. Then there are safety issues which they have to answer," he said.
Under Rule 140(A) of the Aircraft Rules, 1937, airlines need prior approval of DGCA to curtail their flight schedules. Any violation can amount to cancellation of the flight permit of an airline, as an extreme measure.
After the two-hour meeting with Aggarwal and the airlines executive vice president Hitesh Patel, Bhushan said the DGCA, which had summoned them to explain the large-scale disruption in operations and the reasons for it, also wanted know why payment of salaries has been delayed.
Meanwhile, coming to the rescue of bleeding company, the State Bank of India (SBI), has decided to extend a Rs 1,650-crore relief package.