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Regulator acts against India's Kingfisher Airlines

Associated Press Modified: October 6, 2012 at 8:00 am •  Published: October 6, 2012

MUMBAI, India (AP) — Indian regulators have asked Kingfisher Airlines to explain why their license shouldn't be revoked as a strike forces the cash-strapped carrier to cancel flights through Friday.

Kingfisher said in a statement late Friday that it would respond to the notice within 15 days and submit a "comprehensive plan for restoration of services after negotiations with our employees."

Flights have been grounded since Monday, as employees angry about not being paid for up to seven months refuse to work.

Authorities have been criticized for not acting earlier to protect passengers from flight cancellations and the hazards of stressed pilots and engineers who haven't been paid in months.

Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said Friday that the carrier has passed all safety audits.

"From a safety point of view, there are no problems," he told India's NDTV.

The chairman of the State Bank of India, one of Kingfisher's main creditors, told reporters Friday that lenders have agreed to release 600 million rupees ($11.6 million) to help pay back salaries, after the income tax department unfroze the airline's bank accounts.

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