Mumbai airport may give Kingfisher Airlines the boot

It looks increasingly likely that Vijay Mallya's Kingfisher Airlines may be grounded for good – after the Directorate General of Civil Aviation cancelled its licence in October, a report today says that Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL) is considering serving an eviction notice asking the debt-laden airline to vacate the space it occupies at the airport's premium Terminal IA.

The airline owes the airport operator Rs22 crore plus interest under a mix of overheads that include parking and other navigational fees. These dues have not been paid for over a year now, The Economic Times reported citing people close to the developments.

Kingfisher has about 19,000 sq ft at the Mumbai airport. It shares this exclusive terminal space with national carrier Air India.

Kingfisher declined to comment, but the ET report says that according to a senior official, the airline on its own is surrendering more than 15,000 sq ft, both at the airport tarmac and the airport terminal. This is because the paying for space at the airport without an active air service is a waste of money.

"Since we are not operating flights currently and in the near term also we will not be operating our full schedule, we do not see a requirement for the huge terminal and airside space. There is no dearth of space at any airport in the country. When we resume operations we can negotiate with MIAL," the report quoted an unnamed Kingfisher official as saying.

According to this official, the airline has released about 12,000-15,000 sq ft at the Mumbai airport.