Tue, 21 Feb 2012 09:40:58 GMT

I will not shut down Kingfisher Airlines: Vijay Mallya

Beleaguered Kingfisher Airlines' promoter Vijay Mallya on Monday night said he will not shut down the private carrier which struggled to stay afloat after further large-scale flight disruptions and resignation of pilots.

I will not shut down Kingfisher Airlines: Vijay Mallya

"Closing down is not an option. It will not happen.

Government does not want it to happen. It is not in national interest," Mallya said in his first public reaction to the latest crisis that has gripped his cash-strapped airline.

"Why should we give up as long as we get help. Help is not bailout. We have asked banks to consider our proposal to provide more working capital," he said, making it clear that the airline has never asked for a bailout from the Indian government.

In the context of getting help, the liquor baron referred to the government's decision to allow direct jet fuel imports by the airlines and permit foreign carriers to pick up stake in them. He had lobbied hard with the government on both these issues.

Mallya claimed that the entire issue of bailout was of "media making".

Asked about sudden disruption in Kingfisher flights, the UB Group chief said the bank accounts of the airline were frozen "very suddenly" by the Income Tax authorities over non-payment of tax dues.

"The abrupt disruption was unfortunate because our bank accounts were suddenly frozen by tax authorities. I don't deny we have taxes due. .... The bottomline is we requested for time to pay these dues," Mallya said.

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