KFA loses 7 more planes, fleet down to 33

Cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines' registered fleet size came down by seven planes between September 30 and December 7, according to the latest data from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. As per the data, the airline's current fleet stands at 33 aircraft as compared to 40 on September 30.

The seven planes de-registered do not include the planes owned by the German bank DVB Bank SE. The bank had filed a case in the Delhi high court in December to get its two planes, leased to Kingfisher Airlines, de-registered by the DGCA.

Kingfisher, whose licence expired on December 31, declined to comment on whether the planes were voluntarily returned or re-possessed by the lessors. The liquor-baron Vijay Mallya-owned airline, owns only three of the planes in its fleet while the other 30 are leased. The three planes (two ATR 42-500 and one ATR 72-212) have combined value of anywhere between $40 million to $48 million.

Earlier in December, Kingfisher had submitted an interim revival plan to the DGCA, which said the airline will re-start operations in a limited manner with five Airbus planes and two ATR aircraft and scale it up to a fleet of 11 ATR and 10 Airbus planes within 10 weeks.

The revival plan was not accepted by the DGCA and Kingfisher's scheduled operator permit expired on December 31. The airline still has two years to submit a detailed revival plan and seek renewal of the permit.

On Wednesday, Kingfisher's shares closed 4.91% higher on the BSE at R15.16. The airline is saddled with a debt of R8,633 crore (long-term borrowings + short-term borrowings) and has accumulated losses of a similar order. Kingfisher hasn't flown since October 1, after its fleet was grounded following a strike by its engineers and pilots.

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