International flying rights and domestic slots are being withdrawn from troubled Indian carrier Kingfisher Airlines.

The airline, wth $1.4 billion in debts, has been grounded since October after repeated strikes by workers over unpaid wages.

India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation said it was withdrawing Kingfisher’s international bilateral traffic rights “on account of non-utilisation”, affecting routes to Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, UAE Dubai and the UK.

The international traffic rights covering 25,000 seats a week will be made available to other carriers.

Domestic slots at Indian airports allocated to Kingfisher will be made available to other Indian carriers.

The airline’s licence to fly expired at the end of 2012. The company has two years from the point of expiry to apply for a renewal.

Kingfisher was once India’s second biggest airline but has reported annual losses for five years in a row.

The BBC‘s Shilpa Kannan in Delhi said the withdrawal of the domestic slots was the most significant move, because at congested airports such as Mumbai there are already many carriers vying for this space.

With a consortium of 17 banks and a number of government agencies already trying to recover their dues, this could be the last blow to the airline, she said.