Kingfisher license renewal needs turnaround plan for DGCA consideration

Kingfisher Airlines' bid to renew is operating licence, which expires at the end of the year, will not succeed until the airline first submits a turnaround plan, a senior aviation regulatory source said yesterday.

The carrier, which is grounded since October, has estimated debts of $2.5 billion and owes money to banks, airports, tax authorities, plane leasing companies and its staff.

Aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation, (DGCA) suspended Kingfisher's licence to fly in October after months of cancelled flights and staff walkouts.

The airline can apply for renewal of its license within two years from the day of expiry.

Kingfisher has tried to raise cash for over a year with little success. Earlier this month it said, it was in talks with Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways and other investors to take a stake in the carrier.

Plane leasing firm International Lease Finance Corp (ILFC) wants four of Kingfisher's planes returned, the source said. AIG-owned ILFC is being sold to a Chinese consortium for up to $4.8 billion.