Saturday, November 12, 2011

Prime Minister to consult Pranab over Kingfisher crisis

New Delhi: The Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has given Kingfisher airlines some reason to hope. He said that his government would find ways to help the ailing aviation industry.

Sources have told CNN-IBN that Pranab Mukherjee will be consulted on a package for Kingfisher airlines. This after the cash-strapped airline cancelled as many as 40 flights on Saturday, passengers bore the brunt of the crisis.

Prime Minister on Saturday said that he would seek out Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi on the Kingfisher crisis.

The Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that his government would find ways to help the ailing aviation industry.

"I have not applied my mind to Kingfisher's difficulties. I will talk to Vayalar Ravi and explore ways and means in which Kingfisher can be helped," the PM said.

The Prime Minister said he would explore options in which Kingfisher could be helped.

However, even as the government mulls its options on Kingfisher, the airline has hit turbulence.

As many as 40 flights were cancelled on Saturday and the passengers bore the brunt of the crisis.

Miffed passengers complained about cancelled and rescheduled flights.

"Flight is rescheduled and now I have to way two to three hours," said Siddharth Gaur, a passenger.

Passengers are being intimated of changed schedules a day or two prior to their flights, but over 40 Kingfisher flights across the country are being withdrawn, an average of nine flights per day cancelled at major hubs like Mumbai.

Kingfisher said the disruptions would continue only till November 19, and sent email apologies to frequent fliers.

Kingfisher has denied that it has asked for a bailout, saying its problems are common to airlines in the industry, such as rising fuel costs and rupee devaluation.

Meanwhile, competitor Jet Airways posted net losses of over Rs 700 crore in the last quarter ending September.

Kingfisher needs over Rs 1000 crore in working capital loans to tide over the current crisis.

But with the Civil Aviation Minister's assurance of support in asking banks to extend credit limits, many are asking why the government should walk the extra mile in bailing out a private airline.

With the airline's vendors, such as ground handling service agents and oil companies stepping up the pressure on delayed payments, this is one ride that's turning out to be too turbulent for the king of good times.

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