The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) today said it has deregistered 15 aircraft leased by the long-grounded Kingfisher Airlines, to enable lessor companies to repossess them, as rents are long unpaid.
Announcing the decision, Director General of Civil Aviation Arun Mishra said he would soon discuss with the departments concerned the issues of Kingfisher's liabilities to tax authorities, airport operators and other vendors.
Airport operators had seized several aircraft of Kingfisher Airlines, promoted by liquor baron Vijay Mallya. Prompted by the Airports Authority of India, the airports decided not to allow the return of these planes to their owners till Kingfisher clears the airport charges.
The issue has created a furore in international aviation circles over the last month or so, forcing the civil aviation ministry and the Airports Authority to rethink the decision.
Following the DGCA's new attitude, aircraft lessor International Lease Finance Corp said it had successfully taken back one of its six Kingfisher aircraft - an Airbus A-321.
A demand for deregistration of two more Kingfisher planes was made by DVB at a meeting with the DGCA in New Delhi on Monday.
The two planes had been sent to Turkey for repairs and maintenance, where DVB seized them. However, unless the planes were deregistered in the lessor country, the German bank could not reclaim them and lease or sell them to other carriers.
Kingfisher has ten planes of its own and another 15 leased craft which are yet to be deregistered, AAI chairman V P Aggarwal said on the sidelines of an aviation conference organised by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII).