Three Senior Pilots Quit Cash Strapped Kingfisher

Adding to the woes of near-bankrupt Kingfisher Airlines, three more senior pilots have parted ways with the carrier, sources said today.

Three of the senior pilots--Shrinivas Rao, GR Mohan and Indira Mitra--have left liqour baron Vijaya Mallya's airline to board international carriers due to its uncertain future, airline sources told PTI here.

While Mohan was heading the airline's operations for Bangalore and Hyderabad hubs, Mitra was the regional operations head for Kolkata and Chennai and Rao was posted in Mumbai, according to sources.

The resignation comes on the heels of three of its top executives--Senior Vice-President for corporate development and planning Amit Agarwal; Executive Vice-President, commercial, Manoj Chacko; and Chief Legal Officer Bharath Raghavan deserting the carrier recently.

With banks refusing to fund Kingfisher further as their equity (which they picked up following the debt restructuring in March last year) has already eroded by almost nearly 85 percent, it is facing severe fund crunch for more than a year.

The lenders had picked up 24.3 percent of the equity in the airline at a huge premium of Rs 24 apiece at Rs 64.48 a share and today the KFA shares closed at Rs 10.02 per share or 5.36 percent up after remaining below the issues price for months. For the past few days airlines' shares were rising on FDI talks.

The CCEA is to take a call on allowing 49 percent FDI in domestic airlines by foreign carriers tomorrow.

The airline has long-term bank loans of nearly Rs 7,000 crore and an accumulated loss of nearly the same amount.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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