The airline “will not be allowed” to fly until the engineers “approve and certify the airworthiness of the aircraft,” the minister says.“Passenger safety cannot be compromised. If there is a safety issue with Kingfisher, we will close it down,” he adds.
According to the rules of the DGCA, flights are not allowed to operate unless declared fit to fly by engineers. The DGCA says it is “very concerned about the situation” and “ready to talk” to Kingfisher employees if they are not satisfied with the airline’s plan.
The airline, however, has said it would resume operations Oct. 20.
The date is significant since it is also the deadline for the airline to prove to the DGCA that it has a viable operational plan to support the continued grant of its air operator certificate.
The DGCA on Oct. 5 issued a show-cause order to Kingfisher, “asking why its permit should not be canceled or suspended, as the airline has failed to establish a safe, efficient and reliable service.” It also rejected the airline’s proposed winter schedule. The DGCA on Oct. 17 approved the 2012 winter time tables of scheduled domestic airlines, effective from Oct. 28. In all, 10,935 departures per week, or 1,562 a day, have been approved. “But we have not given approval for Kingfisher Airlines,” a DGCA official says.
Kingfisher operated 2,930 departures in winter 2011.
The airline has been looking for investors outside the country after the Indian government recently allowed international airlines to own up to 49% equity in local carriers.
Kingfisher, which used to operate about 400 flights a day, has not made a profit since it launched operations in 2005.
While the airline says it is in talks with global airlines for a potential investment, no carrier has publicly expressed interest. The company also been holding talks with a consortium of banks on restructuring its massive debt.