Sunday, September 20, 2020

Four Major Domestic Airlines' Dues To Airports Authority More Than Doubled In February-July

New Delhi: Dues of four major domestic airlines -- IndiGo, SpiceJet, GoAir and AirAsia India -- to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) more than doubled between February and July amid the coronavirus pandemic, senior officials said.

However, Air India is the domestic airline that owes the highest amount of dues to the AAI. The national carrier's dues to the AAI increased by 2.75 per cent to ? 2,258.27 crore in this period, the officials noted.

An airline has to pay various charges such as air navigation, landing, parking etc to the AAI to use facilities at any of its more than 100 airports. Both Air India and the AAI work under the Civil Aviation Ministry.

India has six major domestic carriers, IndiGo, SpiceJet, GoAir, AirAsia India, Air India and Vistara, which owed a total of ? 2562.04 crore to the AAI as on August 1 and this was around 10 per cent more than on February 1, the officials told PTI.

They said the dues of India's largest airline IndiGo stood at ? 41.62 crore on February 1, which increased by 130.6 per cent to ? 95.99 crore in the subsequent six-month period.

The aviation sector has been hugely impacted because of travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, the six major domestic carriers have instituted various cost-cutting measures such as pay cuts, layoffs or leave without pay during the last few months.

SpiceJet, which is India's second largest carrier, had dues of ? 65.35 crore to the AAI on February 1, which increased to ? 132.4 crore by August 1, the officials stated.

Due to non-payment of dues, the AAI had on August 1 put SpiceJet on cash and carry mode, which means the airline has to pay charges daily at AAI-run airports to operate flights from there.

SpiceJet spokesperson told PTI, "SpiceJet remains firmly committed to its obligations. We continue to have normal operations at all AAI-run airports as before."

Air India's dues to the AAI on February 1 stood at 2197.6 crore and it increased to ? 2258.27 crore on August 1, the officials noted.

On July 8, the AAI put Air India on cash and carry mode at airports in Ahmedabad, Bhubaneswar, Chennai and Kolkata for non-payment of dues.

AirAsia India's dues to the AAI increased from ? 0.96 crore on February 1 to ? 18.89 crore on August 1, the officials mentioned.

"While we do not comment on specific figures, AirAsia India has been making regular payments of dues to the Airport Authority within the agreed credit period," the airline's spokesperson told PTI.

Vistara is only one of the six major domestic carriers which saw its dues to the AAI decrease in February-July period. Its dues were 5.72 crore on February 1 and it fell to ? 4.31 crore on August 1, the officials said. Both AirAsia India and Vistara have Tata group as the majority shareholder.

20/09/20 PTI/NDTV

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