March 9, 2013
At a recent IACC summit on March 6, a question I put to the DGCA, Arun Mishra on what it would take to make Kingfisher Airlines fly again, had an immediate reply: “He (Vijay Mallya) must pay people their salaries.” Though it was essential he cleared his dues, he said. He added a postscipt: “However, KFA need not pay ALL the dues…” Which was news.
AerospaceDiary learns that Sanjay Agarwal, CEO, KFA who was to have left the airline on Feb 28, and has now decided to stay on, when he met ministry officials on March 7, was assured KFA- anxious to start operations- could apply for its NSOP next week. However, how the recent decision by the Supreme Court dismissing the TDS appeal, will affect this decision has to be seen. AerospaceDiary could not confirm any of the above and sources were unwilling to be quoted. We also hear KFA is getting NOCs from airports, oil companies and banks to enable it to fly again. However, Mallya's ACJ remains grounded.
Now, we are hearing there is an investor in the wings- perhaps an Indian business? There’s a bigger game at play here, we also hear. Notice how quiet this time over, KFA has been in the media about talking about an investor? We are also hearing the liquor tsar will be exiting the airline and another one of his big businesses. Which leads us to conjecture – will there be a new investor under a new brand that will buy up KFAs existing infrastructure base of aircraft, stations, maintenance, HR including pilots and crew? Makes sense only if the hefty debts are cleared.
Exciting times ahead. Somewhere in this dynamic, one hopes we are not heading once again to the 90s scenario that experienced aviation turbulence. On the other hand, hopefully, some hard lessons were learnt.
It is, also time, that we show to the world we mean business, instead of sounding like a soap opera about commas and fullstops!