The seriousness of the crisis was underlined by the urgent request Kingfisher owner Vijay Mallya made to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi to help Kingfisher in infusion of funds through banks at low interest rates, besides other concessions in line with what Air India was getting, sources said.
However, there was no official word immediately on whether any step was being taken on Mallya's request made earlier this week. Some 50 pilots and cabin crew did not turn up for duty by reporting sick as over 40 flights were cancelled across its network today.
Innumerable passengers across the country cancelled Kingfisher flight tickets to travel by other airlines, though after paying 20-40 per cent higher at the last moment. The airline, which had earlier said it would restore its flights after October 19, has now indicated that it would take a few more weeks to normalise the flight schedule, that would go into the peak winter season air traffic.
Apart from taking aircraft off flights to reconfigure and install business class seats in them, airline CEO Sanjay Agarwal told PTI, "We decided to reduce frequency in some of the routes where we had multiple flights like Delhi-Mumbai or low passenger load like Nanded-Mysore."
This exercise was part of route rationalisation to improve profitability and revenue productivity of the flights, he said.