Cash-strapped Air India on Saturday heaved a sigh of relief as the government asked oil companies, which had threatened to stop jet fuel supplies from month-end for not clearing dues worth Rs2,400 crore, to defer their deadline by a month.
The ailing national carrier has also sought a discount on payments on the lines the oil marketing firms give to private players which are on cash-and-carry mode.
The decision to ask the oil companies to defer the March 29 deadline by another month was taken at a meeting of a Committee of Secretaries, chaired by Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar.
The meeting was attended among others by Civil Aviation Secretary Nasim Zaidi, Air India CMD Arvind Jadhav and officials from the Ministries of Petroleum, Defence and External Affairs.
While Air India has been paying a whopping sum of Rs13.5 crore a day for all its aircraft to fill jet fuel, the oil companies have been seeking a hike of Rs5 crore per day due to the rising crude prices.
The oil marketing companies could pay up to Rs4,800 per kilolitre of aviation turbine fuel to Air India on account of the amount it has been paying on a daily basis, since the cash-and-carry system was imposed on it from December 7 last year.
The meeting is believed to have asked the oil firms to work out this concession during the next few weeks. Another issue which is understood to have come up for discussion was the payment of dues of about R450 crore by the government to the ailing national carrier.