Mumbai: Getting tough against their company management, the employees of the cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines have warned that if their salary was not cleared till 8 pm on Tuesday, they will go on strike paralysing the services of the debt-ridden airlines company. The salaries of the employees are unpaid since December 2011 and they are waiting for the clearance of three months salaries. The reaction of the employees has come in the backdrop of a letter written by the Kingfisher Airlines chairman Vijay Mallya on Monday to the employees that the company will resume payment of staff salaries starting from this week.


In his letter to the company staff, Mallya said, "All junior staff will be given salary before Easter i.e. on Wednesday 4th April. All pilots and engineers will get remuneration on Monday, April 9 and Tuesday April 10."

The letter of this effect was released by the carrier’s chief following the bank accounts of the ailing airline were unfrozen on Sunday after the airline paid a total of Rs 640 million to various tax authorities before March 31. 

Kingfisher's bank accounts were frozen by India's tax authorities in February which restricted the carrier's ability to make salary and other payments to ensure smooth running of its daily operations, resulting in the grounding of several flights.   
Kingfisher owes USD 1.3 billion to banks, including the State Bank of India and ICICI Bank.   

Mallya is under pressure from his airline's lenders to inject equity into Kingfisher, which has debt of USD 1.3 billion and has slashed its flight schedule and grounded most of its fleet.     

ICICI Bank has asked the embattled airline to top up its loan security or adjust the loan amount after the ailing carrier's stock was pounded in recent weeks.   

JP Morgan said last week that pricing power has come back to Indian airlines, but rising oil prices and a weakening rupee will continue to hurt profitability of carriers.   

At 11.45 a.m., shares of Kingfisher were down 6.67 percent to 15.40 rupees, after touching an all-time low of 15 rupees in intraday trade.     

(JPN/Agency)