Thursday, January 16, 2020

Air India unable to move engine due to Rs 100 crore GST dues

New Delhi: The last mile is always the hardest and the situation is no different for Air India as it awaits outcome of the government’s second move to sell it off. The airline, which is yet to pay December salary, has almost completely run out of funds and is now struggling to keep flying in the absence of equity infusion this fiscal.
Sample this: One of AI’s Airbus has been grounded in Vadodara for almost a week as its requires engine replacement. The Maharaja has a spare engine for this single aisle aircraft in Delhi but is unable to send it as it can’t raise the e-way bill because of GST dues. “Our GST dues are about Rs 100 crore and because of that the paperwork required to send the engine to Vadodara is not being done,” said a senior official.
The airline hopes to pay the GST dues on Thursday, along with salary to employees. “We have raised the cash to pay for these things from our ticket sales. Hopefully we will be able to send the engine to Vadodara once some GST dues are paid Thursday and then we raise the E-way required for that shipment,” said the official.
Amid a life-threatening fund crunch, AI and the government are trying to restore faith among flyers to book tickets. Last November, aviation minister H S Puri said in Parliament that AI “would have to be closed down if not privatised.” After that, the airline saw a sharp dip in advance bookings. “On a year-on-year basis, we have witnessed 10-15% drop in advance bookings,” said a person in the know.
16/01/20 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India
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