Will pay staff 'in few days', says grounded Kingfisher

Kingfisher Airlines, which declared a partial lockout on Monday, said on Tuesday that it would clear employees' salaries, unpaid since March, in ''a few days'' and resume operations. However, there will be no flights at least through Thursday, it said.

Top officials of the airline met Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) chief Arun Mishra, who asked them to get at least five aircraft going in order to retain its airline status.

The airline grounded all its aircraft on Monday after its engineers and pilots struck work on Friday to protest non-payment of salaries since March.

A representative of the protesters said, "The airline management has made such promises earlier too (of clearing salary arrears) but not fulfilled them. So we have adopted a wait and watch policy."

After meeting Mishra, the airline's chief executive Sanjay Agarwal said, ''We will take a call on 4 October on resumption of our operations.'' The airline would get 10 aircraft - seven Airbus A-320s and three turbo-prop ATRs – airborne soon, he added.

He said the March salary has been paid to nearly half of the employees and the rest would get these over the "next few days".