NEW DELHI: Kingfisher Airlines, whose bank accounts have been frozen for non-payment of taxes, has virtually blamed the Income Tax (I-T) authorities for the large-scale flight disruptions, saying freezing of its bank accounts had led to the curtailment in services, even as the government on Monday ruled out any bailout for the private carrier.
In a statement on Monday, Kingfisher said the current disruptions were inevitable due to the sudden attachment of its bank accounts by the I-T department. Kingfisher is on a cash-and-carry mode with most of its vendors — oil companies, Airports Authority of India and even its catering unit. As its bank accounts were attached, Kingfisher was unable to make operational payments leading to the curtailment of flights.
“We are in dialogue with the tax authorities to agree on a payment plan and get the bank accounts unfrozen at the earliest. We are appealing to them to see reason that inconvenience to the travelling public is not in anybody’s interests,” Kingfisher spokesperson Prakash Mirpuri said, adding that employee salaries can be paid and grounded aircraft can be recovered quicker once the bank accounts are unfrozen and the schedule restored on a priority basis. Kingfisher, while deducting tax from its employees’ salaries for at least the last two years, had stopped depositing it with the I-T department.
Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said the airline will not be offered any bailout. On the contrary, the ministry is trying to work out a plan to make the operating atmosphere more conducive for it. Almost 80 flights of the carrier from six metro cities did not operate on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Kingfisher’s promoter Vijay Mallya said on Monday that he will not shut down the carrier. “Closing down is not an option. It will not happen. Government does not want it to happen,” he said.