IATA, which administers the sales and reporting of travel agents, today suspended sales of tickets on Kingfisher airlines. This saga began when the local Tax Department seized several Kingfisher accounts due to non payment, tying up cash and preventing regular payments to workers and creditors. Kingfisher has repeatedly denied allegations that it would shut down operations due to a potential pilot strike for delaying salaries.
Since India doesn’t have a US style bankruptcy restructuring option, Kingfisher’s only choices are to find a buyer or wind-up the business and stop flying. Kingfisher’s latest statement promises business as usual:
Due to the accounts getting attached by the tax authorities, we were not able to make a payment to ICH which resulted in a temporary suspension. We are working with the tax authorities and expect the accounts to be un-attached shortly. As soon as this is done, we will pay our dues to IATA and get reinstated.
So what are your options if you are planning a flight on Kingfisher? Firstly, if you haven’t yet booked, you won’t be able to with today’s suspension of ticket sales. If you are booked on a codeshare flight with another carrier, you should call the originating airline to check other options even though Kingfisher is still flying.
If you are booked on Kingfisher directly you may want to consider other options now. The last time Kingfisher canceled flights there was little recourse but to book on another airline at higher prices.