Kingfisher grounds 15 planes

Tuesday, 20 December 2011 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters: Beleaguered Kingfisher Airlines(KING.NS) has grounded 15 planes in its fleet as it battles a prolonged cash crunch, a company executive told Reuters, as banks continue efforts to prop up the airline, which until recently was India’s second-largest.

A Kingfisher executive, who declined to be identified, told Reuters the airline had grounded 15 of its planes but did not say how long they had been grounded or why.

The executive was speaking after the Economic Times reported that Kingfisher had grounded some of its Airbus planes after it was unable to meet maintenance and overhaul expenses.

Kingfisher, controlled by flamboyant liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya, has been seeking additional working capital from its lenders.

The chairman of State Bank of India, which heads the consortium of Kingfisher’s lenders, on Monday said banks are trying to help.

“We are trying to help Kingfisher,” State Bank of India Chairman Pratip Choudhuri told Reuters on Monday morning.

Asked if banks were open to lending more funds to the cash-starved airline, he said, “everything is on the table.”

Indian conglomerate Sahara, meanwhile, plans to lend Kingfisher more than Rs. 2.5 billion, the Times of India reported on Saturday, citing sources.