Crisis-ridden Kingfisher Airline's promise to pay February salary to all its employees by last Monday (July 16) is sounding hollow to a substantial number of staffers, including pilots, who have still not got the same.
They are constantly writing to the airline to ask when and if at all does the airline intend to pay their February salary. But, so far they claim to have got no reply. The airline spokesperson did not offer a comment on this issue.
On July 14 (Friday), Kingfisher EVP Hitesh Patel had written to employees that their February salaries would be paid by coming Monday (July 16). "I also understand that in spite of our best and most sincere endeavours, we may have failed on the timelines committed...
We have committed to you that your salary will be paid no later than Monday and I am standing by it," Patel's letter to employees had said. But even this deadline has not been met for all. "We are constantly asking the airline when will they pay the February salary and now we don't even get a reply from them.
There may be a march by unpaid employees to the airline office as we don't know what to do," said an unpaid employee. The airline has so far been telling its unpaid employees and vendors that their cash crunch is mainly due to seizing of accounts.
However, this explanation seems to have few takers with the vendors. "How much money would be in those accounts anyway? A notice has been issued to Kingfisher in case of cheques issued to us getting bounced," said a senior Airports Authority of India official.
A private airline official said he regularly gets job requests from employees of both Air India and Kingfisher. Top officials in the Airports Authority of India and DGCA say that the airline is pushing for a situation where some other agency like the regulator is forced to shut it down.
"That way, the promoter can escape blame in front of his employees and the world at large, saying that he would have saved the airline had it not been closed down. We don't want to oblige him. Anyway rules permit an airline to fly till it has five aircraft in its fleet and we will ensure that safety does not get compromised," said an official.