Mallya hints at more job cuts if slump continues

Kingfisher Airlines head Vijay Mallya indicated that if the slump in the market continues, more job cuts and lay-offs may take place in the aviation industry.

"If the slump in the market continues then the number of flights will have to go down.... and when we ground the planes it will have effects," Mallya, a former MP, told reporters outside Parliament. He was responding to a question on whether airlines may lay-off more employees in the near future.

He, however, refused to say whether he had met any minister or Government official over the crisis in the aviation sector. Jet Airways chief Naresh Goyal held a meeting with Finance Minister P Chidambaram.

Jet had recently removed 1900 employees only to reinstate them a day later, allegedly due to Government pressure.

However, Goyal had said that he changed his decision on humanitarian grounds.

Mallya said the airline industry was going through a bad phase. "Firstly, the cost of fuel has become too high, secondly the sales tax imposed by the states is very high. If we increase the air fares people don't want to spend too much money in this economy. So the Government should rethink about the taxes," he said.

The flamboyant industrialist, who also has major stakes in the liquor business, said he did not have any complaints over the Government's response to the demands of the airline industry.

"The Government response has been a lot more urgent and a lot more decisive. The Government has other issues to deal with in the national interest and we hope our turn will come sooner than later," he said.

Asked about the turbulence in the economy, Mallya said, "This is not the first example, there are several examples in the world and Governments have reacted to them."


Turkish Airlines, carried 16.8 million passengers in the January to September period, a rise year-on-year of 14.3percent, it said on Monday.

The Turkish flag carrier said in a statement to the stock exchange that available seat kilometres rose 10 percent year-on-year to 34.1 billion for the period, and revenue passenger kilometres rose 12.6 percent to 25.5 billion.



A United Airlines pilot has been arrested on a passenger plane at London's Heathrow Airport on suspicion of being above the legal alcohol limit, police said on Monday.

Officers boarded a United Airlines plane at Terminal 1 before it was due to take off on Sunday and arrested the 44-year-old under transport safety laws. The pilot, who has not been named, was given police bail to January 16 next year, pending further inquiries.

A United Airlines spokeswoman said he has been suspended from duties, but declined to name the flight or give further details of the incident.

In a statement, the airline said: "United Airlines' alcohol policy is among the strictest in the industry and we have absolutely no tolerance for abuse or violation of this well-established policy.

"Safety is our number one priority and the pilot has been removed from service while we are co-operating with the authorities and conducting a full investigation.


Shrish Pandey


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