Kingfisher faces crucial meeting with Indian aviation regulator

Ailing Kingfisher Airlines faces a crunch meeting with India’s aviation regulator today as it battles to maintain operations.

The debt-ridden carrier is to outline a recovery plan including further route cuts, re-negotiating aircraft leases, tapping foreign loans for working capital and getting back a $40 million deposit from Iata, according to reports.

Iata suspended Kingfisher Airlines for the second time in two months from the Iata clearing house system for defaulting on payments.

Airlines use the system to settle payments for interline agreements. Every Iata member is required to keep a deposit with the body for such settlements.

Kingfisher, which has not made a profit since its inception in 2005, has been cancelling flights since February 17 because of a severe cash crunch.

It is operating about 100 fights a day out of its latest revised schedule of 175. The airline used to fly 340 flights a day a year ago.

Iata president and chief executive Tony Tyler met with Kingfisher representatives on Friday.

“They discussed the participation of the airline in the Iata settlement systems, which includes the Iata clearing house (ICH), billing and settlement plan (BSP), and cargo accounts settlement system (Cass),” a spokesman said.

Kingfisher’s participation in the settlement systems will be reinstated after it fulfills the cash deposit requirements, he added.

“Even if the airline is suspended from ICH, BSP and Cass, the airline can still settle directly with other airlines, travel agents and freight forwarders. Kingfisher continues to be an Iata member in good standing,” the spokesman said.

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