Kingfisher pays April salaries, but remains grounded

Kingfisher Airlines today paid salaries for the month of April, as agreed with the striking pilots and engineers who had not been paid for seven months. Salaries for March were paid on 25 October, when the staff agreed to call off the strike begun on 1 October, after a payment schedule was agreed upon with the management.

According to this, salaries for May will be paid before Diwali, and for June by the end of December. Subsequent salaries will be paid in a staggered manner after the airline has been recapitalised.

But although the staff has officially called off its strike, their 'return to work' is only nominal, as they have no work – the Directorate General of Civil Aviation has suspended the airline's flying licence for failing to establish a ''safe, efficient and reliable service'', and all its aircraft remain grounded indefinitely.

While airline officials say they are working on getting the suspension revoked, it is not yet clear how and when it will do so – the DGCA has not given it any take-off slots in its winter schedule, which runs from November to March.

The airline flew 2,930 flights a week in the winter schedule last year. This year, the regulator wants a comprehensive revival plan before granting Kingfisher permission to fly again.