Kingfisher to operate 101 flights today

In a statement today, debt-laden carrier Kingfisher Airlines sought an apology from passengers who had been hit by the ongoing agitation by pilots. The airline has had to cancel flights across its domestic network and club many others as many pilots and other staffers kept away from work to protest delays in payment of salary.

The carrier had in February, filed a new schedule to the regulator, Director General of Civil Aviation, reducing the number of daily flights by almost two-thirds to 175 with the help of 28 aircraft, down from about 460 flights a day with 64 planes.

The airline has accumulated losses of Rs6,400 crore and piled up debts of Rs7,000 crore due to high fuel costs.

Meanwhile, there appears to be no end to Kingfisher's troubles anytime soon. Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee yesterday said State Bank of India (SBI) had no plans to provide fresh loans to the cash strapped airline as of now and aviation minister Ajit Singh, after a meeting with PM Manmohan Singh to discuss the problems plaguing India's aviation industry, further made it clear that the government could not force banks to continue lending to anyone, .

"SBI has informed that currently there is no such plan to provide additional loan to Kingfisher," Mukherjee told Rajya Sabha replying to a query over SBI's reported plans to bail out the airline by extending a fresh loan of Rs1,500 crore. The crisis ridden airline is under a debt load of Rs7,057.08 crore.

According to Mukherjee SBI, which leads the consortium of lenders to Kingfisher, had informed that, as of February, the airline's account was "sub-standard" with eight public sector banks and "standard" with five public sector banks. "The consortium agreed to 'holding on operations', whereby a portion of the credits into the account are appropriated for reducing irregularities in the accounts of banks," he said.