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Passengers bear the brunt as KFA crisis continues

Passengers bear the brunt as KFA crisis continues

More flight cancellations are expected in coming days as Kingfisher negotiates with the I-T, IATA and oil companies.

New Delhi: It couldn't have gotten worse for the people looking to celebrate the festival of colours with their near and dear ones. Crisis-hit Kingfisher Airlines looks set to cancel more flights on Thursday and coming days. On Wednesday, oil companies pulled the plug on supply to the cash-strapped airlines due to non-payment of dues.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) too barred its agents from booking any flights, seriously jeopardising the company's international bookings. The Income-Tax department froze around 19 accounts of the airlines and is now contemplating locking the UB Group accounts. It also reportedly issued a show-cause notice to the airlines management over non-payment of dues amounting to Rs 350 crore.

While sources claim that negotiations are on between the Kingfisher management and the various government departments, it is the passengers who are bearing the brunt of it all.

"After issuing us a boarding pass, the flight got delayed for over 6 hours. We got upset and protested, we were told that they don't have enough fuel to fly. They say the management is talking to oil companies. At least 7 to 8 flights are cancelled," said one of the Kingfisher passengers.

"I want to know why are they bothering to keep the operations running. Instead of having this headache everyday they should just shutdown once and for all. There is no communication from the management," complained another.

Six Kingfisher flights at Mumbai airport were delayed due to no fuel supply on Wednesday.

Notably, the IATA had warned Kingfisher Airlines earlier as well. Kingfisher accepted that it could not make the payments that resulted in the temporary suspension, adding that it would pay the dues soon to IATA and get reinstated.

The I-T Department, meanwhile, said it had recovered only Rs 23 crore from the KFA so far. The authorities added they will soon take a decision on attaching Kingfisher's properties.

The KFA management, however, said it was making all efforts to get its bank account unfrozen and co-operating with the I-T over its pending issues, to ensure timely payment of salaries, start further recoveries of its aircraft and resume normalcy in operations.

In the past few weeks, the cash-strapped KFA's flight schedules were seriously affected on account of its pending problems with various government departments.