NEW DELHI: Even as Kingfisher CEO Sanjay Aggarwal met DGCA officials on Monday, the threat of a strike by the employees loomed large at the airline’s Chennai and Bangalore bases.
Sources in the airline said that the airline’s top bosses had promised the due salaries to their employees in these bases by Wednesday after they had threatened to go on strike.
Many Kingfisher staffers at the managerial level had not been paid since December. “Even those who are quitting because of non-payment of salary are being asked to pay for not serving the notice period,” a Kingfisher official said.
The overnight decision of the airline to shut down its Kolkata base had drawn the ire of the staff there, who demanded an explanation from the airline. “Our network planning department was told to rationalize on routes and they started with Kolkata. The staff here went on agitation after the company’s announcement to shut these bases completely,” an airline official told Express.
The cabin crew located in the Hyderabad and Kolkata bases were asked to relocate either to Bangalore, Mumbai or Delhi. In this bid to shut bases, the airline lost many of its staffers. As many as 30 crew from Kolkata had joined SpiceJet, which is planning to widen its operations from the city. “Both Indigo and SpiceJet are doing big business from the city. Even Kingfisher’s load factors here were great. It was doing so well that crew members were travelling on the jump seat in the cockpit to free up seats. And suddenly the Mumbai flight to Kolkata, which later went to Bangkok, was cancelled, curtailing the extended operations completely,” an insider in the airline said.
Meanwhile, after a 2-hour meeting with the CEO Sanjay Aggarwal, DGCA chief Bharat Bhushan told the media that the airline would submit a fresh schedule on Wednesday and any action against the airline would be decided in consultation with the Ministry.