Kingfisher Airlines was allowed to fly to eight foreign destinations—Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Dubai and Britain—between 2008 and 2011
The government on Monday withdrew all international flying slots given to now defunct Kingfisher Airlines, and said it would be distributed among other airlines.
Kingfisher Airlines was allowed to fly to eight foreign destinations—Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Dubai and Britain—between 2008 and 2011.
The airline, which ceased operations on 1st October last year, used to offer 140 weekly flights to these destinations from various cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. The airline curtailed its international operations in March last year.
“These international traffic rights have been withdrawn from Kingfisher Airlines on account of non-utilisation by the airlines,” the civil aviation ministry said in a statement. “This (traffic rights) would give additional availability of 25,000 seats per week for use by other Indian carriers to these eight countries, some of which are much in demand by these carriers.”
The domestic slots of the airline have also been withdrawn with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) being directed to reallocate the slots to other domestic passenger carriers.
Kingfisher’s flying licence was suspended 20th October last year, following a strike by employees that crippled the carrier's operations. The licence officially expired on 31 December2012, while a revival plan the airline submitted to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) was rejected due to the lack of “credible restart” details in it.
The airline, promoted by liquor tycoon Vijaya Mallya, has two years to renew the licence to fly.
This is the second instance when a former services chief has been named in a CBI inquiry. Former Admiral Sushil Kumar was named in a CBI case to probe alleged kickback in purchase of Barak missiles in early 2000
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday named former Air Force chief SP Tyagi in a preliminary enquiry (PE) on allegations of kickbacks in the Rs3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal.
Besides the ex-Air Force chief, his cousin Sanjeev Tyagi, ten other persons and four companies have also been named in the PE.
This is the second instance when a former services chief has been named in a CBI inquiry. Former Admiral Sushil Kumar was named in a CBI case to probe alleged kickback in purchase of Barak missiles in early 2000.
The sources said suspected European middlemen Carlo Garosa, Christian Michel and Guido Haschkhe, advocate Gautam Khaitan formerly associated with Aeromatrix and its CEO Praveen Bakshi, former Finmeccanica Chairman Giuseppe Orsi, former AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini have also been named.
Italian companies Finmeccanica and AgustaWestland, IDS Infotech and Aeromatrix also figure in the PE, they said.
However, Sanjeev Tyagi had earlier rubbished charges of having received kickbacks in the VVIP chopper deal, saying it was an “absolute lie” even as he admitted having met one of the middlemen 17 years back regarding a power sector deal.
In a report filed by Italian investigators on the AgustaWestland defence chopper deal in Italy, the three Tyagi brothers—Julie, Docsa and Sanjeev—are alleged to have received kickbacks from the middlemen.
In its PE, registered to probe kickbacks in the 12 AW-101 VVIP/VIP helicopters from the AgustaWestland deal, the premier investigation agency will probe allegations that some “middlemen have influenced the deal in favour” of the Italian company.
It is also learnt that Italian company Finmeccanica paid a commission of seven million euros (around Rs50 crore) to the middlemen out of which huge sums were transferred to seven Indian nationals through Tunisia and Mauritius, the PE said.
The money was sent in the guise of engineering contracts with two Indian companies—IDS Infotech and Aeromatrix—it said.
The team of CBI officials which returned from Italy with some documents from Finmeccanica and public prosecutor found enough material in them to start its probe in Rs362 crore alleged payoffs in the helicopter deal, they said.
All the suspects named by the CBI in its PE have denied allegations of kickbacks in the deal.
The sources said that they are likely to be called for questioning in connection with the case.
The price of spectrum in the 1800 MHz band in Delhi, Mumbai, Karnataka and Rajasthan was reduced by 30% after no bid was received for them in November. But even after a price cut, there was no taker. Sistema Shyam Teleservices was the lone applicant in the CDMA auction
The government’s 2G second generation spectrum auction next month looks set to be a washout with just one company, Russia’s Sistema, applying for participation in the sale of airwaves that too in just one of the three bands for which bids were invited.
Reacting to the muted interest shown by companies, telecom minister Kapil Sibal said: “Fate of this sector is being decided somewhere else. The government has done its best and meticulously followed the Supreme Court order.” “I think that government’s hands were tied… and the result is for everybody to see.” he added.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had announced conducting auction for spectrum unsold in November along with spectrum that is being held by operators whose licences are due for renewal in 2014.
The price of spectrum (1800 MHz band) in Delhi, Mumbai, Karnataka and Rajasthan was reduced by 30% after no bid was received for them in November. But even after a price cut, there was no taker.
“No application was received for the second round of GSM spectrum till the official time of 5.00pm on Monday, while Sistema’s Indian joint venture Sistema Shyam Teleservices was the lone applicant in the CDMA auction,” a DOT source said. While cancelling 122 2G licences, the Supreme Court on 2 February 2012 had asked the centre to allocate spectrum to companies through auction.