Tomorrow's meeting with Kingfisher management crucial: Lenders

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The meeting between bankers and management of ailing Kingfisher Airlines tomorrow is being considered crucial as it will determine the future course of action by lenders.

"Tomorrow will really be a challenging day for Vijay Mallya (airline promoter and its Chairman) and bankers to really come to a platform, whether we can sail through the crisis together," Central Bank of India Chairman and Managing Director M V Tanksale said today.

Tanksale, whose bank is one of the lenders to the grounded private carrier, was talking to reporters on the sidelines of an banking technology expo event here.

"Calling it a day is the easiest job to happen but then to make sure that whether the airline can sail through (is a tough call)..," he said.

Referring to reports that KFA is planning to have a limited re-launch with seven aircraft by February-end, Tanksale said if there are hopes for the airline, then the bankers would support that hope.

"Newspapers say by February, seven (KFA) aircraft will be flying. If some hopes are there for that, we will be there to support the hopes."

He said despite the enthusiasm shown by bankers in the wake of the Rs 11,166-crore deal between Mallya-led United Spirits Ltd (USL) and UK-based Diageo, nothing had changed.

"About two months back, all of us were gung-ho on the deal which the company had done (USL-Diageo deal) that so much cash will be in, but nobody is sure how much and when that cash will be in and when things will be in place and that is why we are back to square one," Tanksale said.

Operating licence of the airline was suspended in October last by DGCA following a strike by employees. By December 31 it had lost the licence to fly though it can be revived in two years.

KFA owes around Rs 7,500 crore to banks and has nearly Rs 10,000 crore in accumulated debts and unpaid salaries, vendor and airport fess and tax arrears.

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