12 MARCH 2012
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India's Kingfisher Airlines received a fresh jolt after federal revenue officials froze 40 bank accounts over the non-payment of taxes, according to the Press Trust of India.
The move comes after federal income tax authorities earlier stopped other accounts of the struggling carrier which did not meet its payment requirements. In addition to back taxes, Kingfisher owes suppliers, lenders and staff, millions of dollars and has scrapped scores of scheduled flights with only 28 of its fleet of 64 aircraft in operation. Many of its planes have been reclaimed by lessors or are awaiting spare parts. It has also been suspended from the IATA clearing house.
Industry body, the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, has estimated that Kingfisher requires an injection of at least US$400m to keep in business.
Company Chairman and brewer baron Vijay Mallya has said closing Kingfisher "is not an option" and is seeking fresh capital infusions to avert collapse.
Late last month, media reports said Mallya told employees in an email that the airline had raised money to pay back salaries. Rumours continue that IAG, parent company of British Airways, and Etihad Airways, flagship carrier of the United Arab Emirates, might be interested in a Kingfisher stake. www.flykingfisher.com
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