13 Oct 2012

Arrest warrant for airline owner

8:22 pm on 13 October 2012

A court in Hyderabad, India, has issued an arrest warrant for Vijay Mallya, the owner of Kingfisher Airlines.

The warrant relates to a case brought by Hyderabad International Airport after cheques worth 103 million rupees ($US1.9 million) bounced.

Kingfisher is struggling to repay its debts. The BBC reports it has a cash shortage and has reported losses for five years in a row.

The money owed in this case was reportedly to cover airport charges.

The BBC reports the warrant was issued when Mr Mallya failed to appear in court, despite a summons issued to him after the cheques bounced.

Mr Mallya is an MP in the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian parliament, He is also chairman of the United Breweries group, India's largest brewing company, which makes Kingfisher beer.

In July, Kingfisher Airlines was forced to cancel 40 flights after employees went on strike again, over the airline's failure to pay months of wages.

The airline grounded its fleet on 1 October and has extended this until 20 October after failing to persuade the strikers to return to work.