The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is in a peculiar corner. It has to receive dues totalling Rs 789 crore from Air India and Kingfisher Air but neither is paying — because private sector Kingfisher feels it is the only one being chased while the bigger airline from the public sector stable gets away with it.
This strange triangle has caused a stalemate for the authority, which provides landing and other airport facilities to various airlines in return for fees.
“We (AAI) are not in a position to press the state run carrier to pay up their dues so how can we ask others to clear their dues, we are in a bind and losing money,” a senior AAI official said.
Air India owes Rs 684 crore to Airports Authority of India and private carrier Kingfisher Airline owes Rs 105 crore for route navigation, terminal and landing and parking charges. These charges are levied by AAI depending the weight of an aircraft.
The heavier the aircraft more the charges.
Being a state-run entity Air India was never required to pay a security deposit where as private carriers have to pay a security deposit for such exigencies.
“Since private carriers also have a security deposit with the AAI we are not in a position to ask them if the dues are not abnormally high, but in case of Air India there is no security deposit that we can fall back on,” the official said.
As to when Kingfisher Airline would clear its dues with AAI, the airline’s spokesperson said “We are in full compliance
with the credit terms as agreed mutually with AAI from time to time.”
Air India’s official spokesperson could not be contacted despite repeated requests.
“We have never said we will not clear our dues, it is an inter-departmental issue and it will sorted out in time,” a senior Air India official said requesting anonymity.
“These charges depend on the use of airport, and more we press the private carriers they may opt out of certain airports which would mean further loss of revenues for us,” the AAI official added.