Mumbai: Resentment is brewing in a section of Kingfisher Airlines employees over the non-payment of dues despite its chairman Vijay Mallya's "assurance" of remitting January salaries by May 15.

Last month around 200 airlines engineers had struck work over the non-payment of salary.

"The airline has paid January salary to most of its pilots. However, none of the engineers have yet been paid," airlines sources said here.

A substantial number of ground staff is also yet to receive their January salaries.

"The management intentions are questionable. It seems to be working on 'divide and rule' policy by paying to a section of its staff while leaving out other employees," they alleged, adding that it looks as if it has tried to pre-empt any move by the staff to take on the management jointly on the long pending salary dues.

Mallya said in his May 5 communication to the employees that the airline will start remitting January salaries from May 9 onwards.

However, then the management failed to deliver its commitment. A section of its pilots started reporting sick leading to cancellation of several flights.

But the striking pilots called-off their agitation after some tough talk by Mallya in his May 10 e-mail communication to the employees, when he vowed to deal with the situation "firmly".

He also "assured" employees of paying their salaries by May 15 and said that a "significant" portion of the February salaries would be paid by the month-end. A text message to airlines spokesperson did not yield any response.

The airline, which never made a profit since its inception in May 2005, reported a net loss of Rs 444.26 crore in the December quarter. It suffered a loss of Rs 1,027 crore in 2010-11 and has a debt of Rs 7,057.08 crore. Due to the paucity of funds, it now operates only 110 flights a day with a fleet of 20 aircraft against 400 flights per day last year with 66 planes.

The airline had a 5.4 percent market share in April, and ranked below the budget carrier GoAir, which cornered 7.3 percent market share in the same period.


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