Allow return of leased Kingfisher planes, ILFC tells India

Aircraft finance leader International Lease Finance Corp on Wednesday told India to release six aircraft leased by the grounded Kingfisher Airlines, which it said are ''held hostage" by a bureaucratic dispute after Kingfisher failed to pay for them.

The Los Angeles-based ILFC had warned in January that a failure to return the leased aircraft to their owners when India's airlines cannot pay their bills could put the country's aviation growth at risk by scaring off funding.

The chief executive officer of ILFC, Henri Courpron, said the situation on the ground remained unresolved.

"We have made legal and political progress but people are not following instructions from the government," Courpron said in a telephone interview to Reuters. "We have to stop this hostage situation."

He did not say which Indian authorities or people he held responsible for failing to apply the court's decision.

The ILFC wants the Airbus planes now sitting idle in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai back to allow them to be used by other operators, but the issue is tangled up in red tape.

Meanwhile, plane owners are stripping the Kingfisher aircraft of all reusable parts on the ground even as the planes remain parked as the owners and airports quarrel about parking charges and other issues.