The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the regulatory body for the aviation industry, has said that cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines is unsafe to fly and should be wound up, reports Times of India.
"A reasonable case exists for withdrawal of their (Kingfisher's) airline operator permit as their financial stress is likely to impinge on safety," the Times of India quoted the financial surveillance report that was submitted by DGCA Chief Bharat Bhushan on Dec. 28, 2011.
According to the newspaper, which claimed to have access to the report, "A prima facie case exists for restricting their operations in view of safety issues."
In addition, the regulator's report found major distress issues with Jet Airways, JetLite, SpiceJet and GoAir. It also mentioned some rapid growth issues for another airline, IndiGo. However, the audit for Air India Express is still on.
Meanwhile, the DGCA Chief has sent summons to Kingfisher and Air India Express to come forward and explain what plans they had to recover from their current worrisome state and also what they were doing about the lack of appropriate safety measures.
The report also mentioned that of the nearly one third of Kingfisher Airlines, 64 aircraft have been grounded due to lack of spares, engines and other components.
DGCA's report on Kingfisher dated Dec. 27, 2011, mentioned that there is a shortage of 12 engines for 7 aircraft of A-320 family and 16 engines for 9 aircraft of ATR family. Most spares of ATR aircraft are not available. The airline is doing cannibalization of parts.
During the winter schedule of 2011, the airline also did not operate 175 daily flights due to non-availability of aircraft, added the report.
Denying the DGCA financial surveillance report's recommendation of cancellation of Kingfisher's license, Prakash Mirpuri, Vice President, Corporate Communications, Kingfisher Airlines, spoke to the media ensuring that the airlines was operating its scheduled services with utmost safety. The report is an audit carried out by the DGCA and no inference can be drawn from the report.
However, the suggestion by the regulatory body to wind up Kingfisher Airlines doesn't come as a surprise. Earlier some sections of the media reported that the Kingfisher was planning 2,000 job cuts and longer working hours for staff.
It also reported that Kingfisher is in a huge debt amounting to Rs 7,000-plus crore and more than 200 cabin crew have left in recent months and that salaries were not paid regularly.