Thursday, February 04, 2021

Govt owes Air India Rs 498 crore towards VVIP charter flights

New Delhi: Various government departments owe over Rs 498 crores to the debt-ridden national carrier Air India for VVIP charter flights, Union Civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri informed the Rajya Sabha.

Puri informed the Rajya Sabha that the government's total dues on account of airfares for VVIP flights stood at Rs 498.17 crore at the end of 31 December.

"Usually, the credit period for Government of India Departments varies from 15 to 30 days from the receipt of invoice, and no interest is paid to Air India in case of non-payment within the credit period," the minister added.

This development comes at a time when the government is hoping to privatise the ailing airline. During the Budget presentation on February 1, FM Nirmala Sitharaman had said that the government is hopeful of privatising the national carrier by the first half of 2021-22.

The EoIs are currently being evaluated by the Ministry of Finance's Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) and the qualified bidders, who will be allowed to make financial bids for the airline, will be revealed in the coming days.

DIPAM Secretary Tuhin Kanta Pandey had earlier said that the government has received multiple expressions of interest for the strategic disinvestment of Air India. "Multiple expressions of interest have been received for strategic disinvestment of Air India. The transaction will now move to the second stage," the secretary tweeted as the bidding process concluded.


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