Delhi International Airport Limited (Dial), the private consortium that runs the IGI airport here, is in a "serious financial situation" and unless the government acts immediately, the airport "might be shut down in a couple of months", a senior Dial official has warned.
"Going by current projections, IGI operations would be severely impacted and could eventually lead to a shutdown in less than two months," said Sidharth Kapur, chief financial officer (airports) of GMR Group, the majority stakeholder in Dial, on Tuesday.Kapur largely blamed Air India (AI) for the mess Dial is in, saying the troubled national carrier hasn't cleared dues amounting to Rs. 450 crore in the last 14 months. Also, there has been no revision of tariffs for the airport so far.
"This is a very irresponsible comment," an aviation ministry official said.
"We are aware of the problems they are facing but the situation is not as bad as they are making it out to be.
The AI spokesperson did not respond to calls from HT.
But Kapur said Dial would run out of cash soon.
"We'll have no money for electricity bills and salaries. We are borrowing left and right to sustain operations and banks have stopped lending. We are in a serious financial situation."
Dial is likely to post a record loss of around Rs. 900 crore in the financial year 2011-12 and has asked the government for an ad hoc payment of Rs. 300 crore.
The Delhi airport's long-term debt is over Rs. 5,000 crore and revenues from AI account for 20-25% of its total aeronautical revenue.
Even debt-laden Kingfisher Airlines, with unpaid dues of Rs. 75 crore, is making a daily payment of around R40-50 lakh to the airport, Kapur said. AI, he claimed, isn't even paying the airport development charges deducted from passengers.
Earlier, aviation secretary Nasim Zaidi said the government had proposed the creation of an infrastructure debt fund to reduce interest burden on airports.