Friday, August 27, 2021

Rs 3,000 crore from AI unpaid, oil companies seek ministry help

New Delhi: Stopping short of fuel supply cuts to disinvestment-bound Air India, state-owned oil retailers have sought the petroleum ministry’s intervention to recover their dues adding up to over

Rs 3,000 crore, government officials and company executives told The Indian Express.

The national carrier, on its part, has approached the central government to get its dues of over Rs 500 crore cleared. The government owes Air India the money on account of VVIP travel, evacuation operations and other official travel.

Typically, oil marketing companies suspend fuel supply to airlines that have not paid past dues — Air India was subjected to such a move in August 2019.

“Oil marketing companies have approached the petroleum ministry as Air India had stopped paying interest on long-term dues and for ongoing consumption,” a government official said, on condition of anonymity.

Responding to the oil ministry, the civil aviation ministry has requested that oil companies continue supplying fuel to Air India, given that the entire airlines industry is facing financial stress due to the pandemic, the official said, adding that “no one wants to stop the operations” of the national airline.

A senior executive at one of the oil marketing companies said decisions to stop supply to Air India or put it on a cash-and-carry basis are taken after consultations with the petroleum ministry. Air India’s daily fuel bill adds up to about Rs 5-6 crore. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) had in July last year — just over a month after the domestic flight suspension was lifted — warned Air India that it would put the airline on cash-and-carry until it cleared its dues of Rs 1,000 crore at the time.

27/08/21 Karunjit Singh , Pranav Mukul/Indian Express

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