Friday, May 21, 2021

PPP airport operators seek ‘cash support’ from government to pay staff and 'sustain operations'

New Delhi: India’s private airport operators, including those in four metros, have sought "cash support" from the government "to sustain operations." The urgent SOS, among other things, is to seek "salary support for airport employees to avoid any possible loss of employment due to sustained low level of operations for such a long period."

The Association of Private Airport Operators (APAO) earlier this week sent an 11-point communication to Union aviation ministry amid the Covid catastrophe in India that has dealt a body blow to aviation as both international and domestic air travel have crashed. "Struggling to sustain operations, concerned for a much deeper financial impact this year. It has now come to the brink, to ensure sustenance of safe and secure airport operations and are in dire need of cash support to survive," it says.

APAO represents PPP airports at Mumbai and upcoming Navi Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Mangaluru (part of Adani Group); Delhi, Hyderabad and upcoming in Goa (GMR Group); Bengaluru and Kochi. Indian airlines are also in dire straits and had a meeting with aviation ministry on Thursday to seek elusive support.

The APAO representation to the government speaks of suffering "catastrophically in terms of traffic, revenues and cash balance for the entire last year. The recent surge of cases has again raised serious concerns for the future." Due to the vaccination fiasco in India, it says, "going by the current pace it will take much longer to vaccinate a sizeable Indian population" required for safe travel to resume.

Citing impact of the second wave, it says Delhi airport had recovered to nearly 1.1 lakh daily domestic passengers (about 60% of pre-covid level) in February before slipping to 20-25,000 by mid-May. Mumbai airport had recovered to 60,000 daily domestic passengers by mid-February, before crashing to 12-15,000 by-May 2021. Other airports have also seen their traffic fall off the cliff.

The 11-point relief sought is for things like "extending GST input tax credit; reduction in GST rate from 18% on output services to 12%; disbursement of overdues from Air India; salary support for airport employees; special line of credit or working capital loan on an unsecured basis at subsidised rate with a moratorium of at least 2 years. The credit amount should cover the cash flow gap for a period of at least 24 months or till business comes back to normalcy."

It has also requested a "moratorium on debt servicing obligations and extending suspension of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code till March 31, 2022."

21/05/21 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

To Read the News in full at Source, Click the Headline


Post a Comment