‘Top four pri­vate air­lines owe Rs 200 cr to AAI’

AAI has been mak­ing re­peated at­tempts to re­cover the dues from these air­lines.

The Sunday Guardian - - & Comment Analysis -

air­line gi­ant Jet Air­ways, with the sec­ond high­est mar­ket share in do­mes­tic op­er­a­tions and the high­est mar­ket share in in­ter­na­tional op­er­a­tions by an In­dian car­rier, owes over Rs 41 crore to the AAI.

Even SpiceJet, which re­cently wit­nessed the big­gest turn­around in the his­tory of the avi­a­tion in­dus­try and has suc­cess­fully man­aged to cap­ture over 12% of the do­mes­tic avi­a­tion mar­ket share, also owes around Rs 17.5 crore to the AAI. Bud­get car­rier AirAsia, which com­menced its op­er­a­tions in In­dia in 2014 in a joint ven­ture with the Tata group, owes over Rs 45 crore to the state-owned air­port op­er­a­tor.

Ac­cord­ing to data sub­mit­ted to the Ra­jya Sabha by Min­is­ter of State for Civil Avi­a­tion, Jayant Sinha, these four air­lines to­gether owe pre­cisely Rs 203.9 crore to the AAI, as on 31 De­cem­ber last year. All air­lines are re­quired to pay cer­tain charges to the air­port op­er­a­tor for us­ing the fa­cil­i­ties at the air­ports, that in­cludes traf­fic and non­traf­fic fa­cil­i­ties. While traf­fic fa­cil­i­ties in­clude the Air Traf­fic Con­trol, op­er­a­tions and other such fa­cil­i­ties, non-traf­fic fa­cil­i­ties in­clude ground han­dling, park­ing and other such op­er­a­tive in­fra­struc­ture at the air­port.

How­ever, air­lines like In­diGo and SpiceJet have de­nied ow­ing any such money to the state-owned air­port op­er­a­tor.

In a writ­ten re­ply to The Sun­day Guardian, spokesper­son for In­diGo said, “In­diGo owes no pay­ments which are over­due to the Air­ports Author­ity of In­dia. In­diGo has al­ways made all its pay­ments within the due date.” Spokesper­son for SpiceJet has also said that the amount be­ing men­tioned is not over­due and is be­ing paid through daily busi­ness. SpiceJet spokesper­son told The Sun­day Guardian: “The amount men­tioned is not over­due and is in­curred in the nor­mal course of daily busi- ness. SpiceJet has been pay­ing all dues to AAI on or be­fore due dates. More­over, SpiceJet also has a se­cu­rity de­posit of Rs 103 crore with AAI in the form of a bank guar­an­tee.”

Spokesper­son for Jet Air­ways also main­tained that no such over­dues are pend­ing with the AAI and such trans­ac­tions are a rou­tine busi­ness of the air­line op­er­a­tor and air­port op­er­a­tors. “All our dues to AAI are cur­rent and are well within the pre­scribed credit pe­riod. Fur­ther, all these dues are well within the se­cu­rity de­posit pro­vided by the com­pany to AAI,” spokesper­son for Jet Air­ways said.

How­ever, the AAI has main­tained that these air­lines owe money to the AAI for us­ing their fa­cil­i­ties at var­i­ous air­ports across the coun­try and, ac­cord­ing to sources, some amounts have been pend­ing for years with these air­lines. The of­fi­cial spokesper­son of the AAI told The Sun­day Guardian, “The fig­ures pro­vided by the Min­is­ter to Par­lia­ment are ab­so­lutely cor­rect. Sev­eral air­lines owe money to the AAI for us­ing our fa­cil­i­ties and some are not paid for years. We have also been send­ing them re­minders and charg­ing them pe­nal in­ter­ests for de­lay­ing pay­ments. At times, even le­gal ac­tions are taken for de­fault­ing.”

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