Kingfisher cancels Kolkata flights, may leave city for good

Hit by an employees' strike over non-payment of salaries and dues, the deeply-troubled Kingfisher Airlines on Friday decided to halt all bookings to or from Kolkata for four days beginning 25 February. Reports suggest this may be a precursor to shutting down all Kolkata operations for good.

Bookings for the Delhi-Kolkata route, which has one flight daily, have been halted for four days from 25 February through 28 February. Kingfisher Airlines has instructed travel agents accordingly.

A Times of India report says that all flights to and from the West Bengal capital have been withdrawn from Monday itself, up to 28 February. One flight had to be cancelled on Friday after a flash strike by staff.

The airline has come under severe financial stress lately, particularly after it posted a massive Rs400 crore loss for the quarter ended 31 December 2011. Its accumulated debt is estimated to be around Rs6,000 crore; and it is desperately seeking a bailout from its lenders.

Trouble has been brewing at Kingfisher for several months now following the severe financial crisis that led to the carrier reneging on payments to lenders, staff, airport operators and fuel companies.

The firm's auditors auditors B K Ramadhayani and Co said in report on Friday that the carrier might have to stop flying if it could not raise more capital.