Mumbai: Financially beleaguered, Kingfisher Airlines, is facing a challenge on a front other than finances with an estimated 75 of its pilots, out of a total count of 650, having quit over the last three months.
Such high levels of attrition, industry observers say, are likely to impact the airline's future operations.
The Vijay Mallya-promoted airline, India's second largest by way of passengers carried, is yet to report a profit since its inception in 2005. It reported a total loss of Rs1,027 crore in the year ended 31 March. Its accumulated losses at the end of the last financial are more than Rs4,300 crore.
Mallya announced last week that it would phase out operations of its low-cost brand, Kingfisher Red over a period of three months.
Industry experts say that the loss of pilots would really be felt once the mandatory notice period of two months was over. They said the carrier's operations would be affected enormously when the new Flight Duty Time Limitation guidelines become effective in February 2012.
Looming ahead was the winter season when there were going to be delays from fog conditions and the crew would be stretched beyond normal limits.
Other experts point out that though Kingfisher had reduced its fleet from 89 to 66 aircraft over the last couple of years, and had some excess pilots the exit of 75 pilots was still a serious matter and reflected a lack of confidence of senior technical staff in the organisation.
They also surmise that it was likely that Kingfisher could well cancel orders for aircraft.