With Kingfisher Airlines gripped by an acute financial crisis,Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said that he would speak to Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi to see how to get the Vijay Mallya-owned airline,which has cancelled at least 210 flights in the past week,out of trouble.
Speaking to reporters en route to New Delhi from the Maldives where he had gone to attend the SAARC Summit,the Prime Minister said: Private sector airlines have to be managed efficiently but if they do get into difficulty,we have to find ways and means to help them get out of the process.
He said that although he has not applied his mind to Kingfishers trouble,he would talk to the Civil Aviation Minister upon his arrival in New Delhi to see how the airline can be helped. The airline had sought government intervention for getting low-cost debt.
Kingfisher has suffered a loss of Rs 1,027 crore in 2010-11 and has a mounting debt of Rs 7057.08 crore. Other airlines are hit too: in the latest quarterly results,Jet Airways posted losses of over Rs 700 crore and Spice Jet of Rs 240 crore.
Earlier in the day,Ravi said: This is to clarify that no bailout package is pending before the Government nor has been proposed by Ministry of Civil Aviation for the Kingfisher Airlines.
Mallya said governments abroad have gone out of the way to support air carriers. In India,airlines are overtaxed and overcharged. Wonder why?, he tweeted. Is it Kingfishers duty to fly on lossmaking routes when state governments tax heavily? Or should we be financially prudent and fly profitably.
After being showcaused by the aviation regulator for cancelling flights without any prior notice on Wednesday,the carrier said it has withdrawn flights to cut unprofitable routes,redeploy aircraft keeping in view long term profitability. The restructuring exercise will take three months,the airline said. (With ENS,Delhi)