Kingfisher grounds all flights until October 4

1 Oct 2012 by Tom Otley

Passengers intending to fly with Indian airline Kingfisher over the coming days will have to revise their travel plans.

Employee unrest, a result of staff being unpaid for many months, has forced Kingfisher management to suspend all flight operations until next Thursday at the earliest.

The decision came shortly after Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh told the airline that it would not be allowed to operate if safety rules were not being observed.

Reports on state that matters came to a head over the weekend when engineers at Delhi beat up a member of Kingfisher management and stranded passengers on one arriving aircraft by several hours when they refused to connect the airbridge linking the plane to the terminal.

According to The Times of India, industrial relations worsened today (Monday) when most of the carrier’s pilots and engineers, who have not been paid for six months, went on strike.

Today’s industrial action at Kingfisher has paralysed flight operations and forced management to temporarily close down the airline.

Ibnlive says that over 50 Kingfisher domestic flights were cancelled today. Heated exchanges took place between passengers and airline staff at several airports including Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai.

At one time, Kingfisher was operating an expanding network of international flights linking India with the UK and the Far East.  It was poised to join the Oneworld alliance.

But overexpansion, the rising cost of fuel and the economic downturn have forced Kingfisher to shrink its network and have lead to the carrier racking up hundreds of millions of pounds of debt.

Report by Alex McWhirter

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