Even as locked out Kingfisher Airlines (KfA) is struggling hard to woo back its employees so that it can give a shot at being airborne once again, its hopes have been dashed as leasing companies that had leased their aircraft to the airline are now taking them away.
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has decided not to release the aircraft owned by KfA that are parked in different airports of the country till the airline clear its dues to the airport operator.
“The airline has been told to clear its dues totalling about Rs 280 crore before it can repossess its aircraft, but we have seen that the leasors are no longer willing to risk their equipment (aircraft) and are clearing the dues that Kingfisher owes to AAI and are flying out with their aircraft,” an AAI official said requesting anonymity.
“For any leasor keeping the aircraft on ground is pure loss which they can’t afford, at least four of the leasing companies have cleared dues of over Rs 80 crore and taken away four aircraft that were parked at different airports, the official said.
According to unconfirmed reports, the airline has a total of 36 aircraft that are on ground now which include 18 ATRs, two A319s, six A321s, and 10 A 320 aircraft.
KfA Chief Executive Sanjay Aggarwal is optimistic that the employees would report back to duty and hoping to meet the Directorate General of Civil Aviation with a revival plan in the “near future.”
However, with a few foreign or domestic airlines showing interest in picking up a stake in KfA as of now it is highly unlikely that the carrier will receive a fresh equity infusion in the near future.
The global aviation consultancy firm Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation has said a fully funded turnaround for KfA would cost at least $1 billion.