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India’s Kingfisher Airlines loses $142m in third quarter
February 05, 2013 , 7 : 15 pm
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Travellers walk past a Kingfisher Airlines counter at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, India. Photo — Bloomberg file picture
India's ailing Kingfisher Airlines, whose planes have been grounded since October, posted a net loss of Rs7.55 billion ($142 million) in the three months to December, the company said.
The private carrier, controlled by business baron Vijay Mallya, has never made a profit since it started operations in 2005 and owes millions of dollars to banks, airports, fuel suppliers and its staff.
It had reported a loss of Rs4.44 billion in the same period the previous year. Kingfisher lost permission to fly and its planes stand idle after a deadline to renew its suspended licence with the aviation regulator expired at the start of the new year.
"During the last quarter, Kingfisher did not have any operations," the airline said, adding that a revival plan has been placed with the aviation regulator for renewal of the flying permit and restart of operations.
Most of the carrier's 4,000-odd employees have not been paid since May 2012, which led to a strike by its pilots and engineers in October. A section of the staff are now planning to take Kingfisher to court to recover their overdue salaries, calling for the company to be wound-up.
Kingfisher was the worst-hit of India's airlines in 2012, with the industry plagued by high jet fuel prices, fierce competition, price wars and shabby airport infrastructure. Mallya is desperate for investments to get the airline running again.
He has said Kingfisher was in talks with foreign investors — including Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways — for stake sale talks, after the government cleared investment by foreign airlines in the transport sector in September.
Etihad has since said it is considering investing in India's Jet Airways. Aviation analysts have expressed doubts over whether any foreign airline would be interested in Bangalore-based Kingfisher given its debt load, which is estimated at $2.5 billion by the consultancy firm Centre for Aviation.
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