Die-hard Kingfisher Airlines CEO Sanjay Aggarwal finally quits

Sanjay Agarwal, CEO of India's Kingfisher Airlines, today resigned from grounded-in-debt airline.

Hanging on to the bitter end, he was the last senior executive to quit an airline which seems to have nothing left to do but fold its wings and fall to the ground in its death throes.

Kingfisher Airlines, promoted by liquor baron Vijay Mallya of the UB Group, has been grounded since October 2012, carrying a debt of over Rs2,000 crore which it is hard pressed to repay by its creditors, mainly a group of government-run banks but also airport authorities for ground charges.

With Aggarwal's exit, only chief financial officer A Raghunathan (a UB Group man rather than an airline executive) is left in Kingfisher's senior management.

Aggarwal joined Kingfisher Airlines in October 2010, moving from the more successful SpiceJet Ltd.

As CEO of led SpiceJet, he is reputed to have led the low-cost airline back to profitability. He quit the airline when media baron Kalanithi Maran of Sun TV Network Ltd bought SpiceJet in June 2010.

Prior to joining SpiceJet, Aggarwal was chief operating office of Flight Options, the world's second-largest private jet provider. He had also worked in US Airways for six years.

In January this year, Rajesh Verma resigned as executive vice-president of Kingfisher Airlines. Verma was one of the company's longest-serving employees and had been associated with the grounded airline since June 2006.

Losses for Kingfisher Airlines widened to Rs822.42 crore in the quarter ended 31 December, compared with a loss of Rs755.17 crore in the same period a year ago, the airline said on 12 February. (See: Grounded Kingfisher Airlines shows widening losses for Q3)

''Perhaps Mallya has learnt that running an airline is different from selling third-rate liquor - which he no doubt never drinks himself – in a highly controlled alcoholic beverage market,'' said one commentator acidly.