Kingfisher flights in doubt as online sales halted

ERIKA KINETZ, AP Business Writer

MUMBAI, India -- India's Kingfisher Airlines has stopped selling tickets on its website through Oct. 20, casting doubt on its promise to end a two week shutdown Friday.

The cash-strapped airline is struggling to convince pilots and engineers who haven't been paid for months to return to work.

The website also warns passengers that "all flights are subject to regulatory approval."

Kingfisher, once one of India's best airlines, grounded flights on Oct. 1. It is now battling for a lifeline with India's airline regulator, which has asked the company to explain why its license shouldn't be revoked, and with bankers, whom it owes over $1 billion.

Kingfisher maintains that it will be able to engineer a turnaround and has pledged to provide the regulator with a "comprehensive plan for restoration of services after negotiations with our employees" by Oct. 20.

The company hasn't made a profit since it was founded in 2005, according to FactSet, a financial information provider. The Center for Asia Pacific Aviation, an airline industry research group, estimates that saving the airline will require over $1 billion.