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Kingfisher Airlines’ License Suspended by Government…Not a Good Sign

India’s Kingfisher Airlines, which had previously suspended flights because of a cash shortage that resulted in employees not being paid for months, has been told by the Indian government that its license to fly has been suspended indefinitely.

The government had previously given the airline 15 days to submit a reorganization plan, but they were unable to present such a document in that time. The government took a hard line and suspended the operating license, a move that seems harsh but actually makes a ton of sense as the airline had long stopped paying employees, suppliers and airports.

The airline, for its part, is downplaying the severity of the move (which in itself is a bit concerning), saying “this is not a cancellation but a temporary suspension, which is valid only till such time that we submit a concrete and reliable revival plan…” as if they will be up and running as soon as they finish their homework.

It’s been a long, long demise for Kingfisher which had ordered 5 A380s in hopes of becoming India’s answer to Emirates. The airline has never been profitable, and its late-2007 acquisition of money-losing Ryanair-lite Air Deccan coupled with the ensuing global economic crisis probably sealed the carrier’s fate.

Even if the airline submits a reorganization plan (which is still an open question), it’s highly unlikely the government would approve it given its history.

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