Kingfisher Airlines Ltd expects to resume operations in four or five days after around 100 staff in Delhi agreed to return to work, an executive with the cash-strapped carrier told reporters on Thursday.
Kingfisher, once India's second-largest airline, is half a year behind on salary payments and has grounded its fleet since Monday after a protest by engineers over the weekend turned violent, according to the heavily indebted carrier.
The shutdown has further dimmed the outlook for the airline controlled by liquor baron Vijay Mallya. Kingfisher has never turned a profit since its founding in 2005 and is saddled with $1.4 billion in debt, owed mostly to government banks led by State Bank of India.
"About 100 people here agreed to return to work unconditionally," Sanjay Bahadur, vice president of corporate affairs, told reporters following a meeting in Delhi between management and members of staff.
He also said the airline expects to pay salaries for March "within a week or so."
On Tuesday, an official with India's aviation regulator said Kingfisher would not get government approval to resume flying unless it pays salaries and submits an acceptable recovery plan.
Before this week's shutdown, Kingfisher operated just 10 planes out of a fleet that once numbered 64, and its market share was the smallest among India's six main carriers.
Shares in Kingfisher fell 4.8 percent on Thursday to 13.90 rupees, effectively at their daily limit of 5 percent for the fourth straight session.