After freezing the bank accounts of beleaguered Kingfisher Airlines, the service tax department has now served a notice on Jet Airways to pay up about Rs 69 crore as dues soon or face similar consequences, but the airline said it would do so by Monday.
Jet Airways has not paid a total of about Rs 69 crore worth of dues for January and February which they collected during this period, official sources said.
The amount was to have been paid by March 6, they said, adding that if they did not reply to the notice soon, "we will have to go for freezing of their accounts. We have to talk to the banks in the process of assessing the number of accounts they have."
When contacted, Jet's senior vice president (Finance) Mahalingam Shivkumar said, "There has been some delay due to hike in oil prices and other costs. We are effecting the payments by Monday. Everything will be normal then."
There have been a major increase in costs including the hike in jet fuel prices, he said, adding "it is only a delay of about four days... it is like making a mountain out of a molehill."
Jet Airways posted a loss of Rs 101.22 crore in the third quarter ending December 31 last year, as higher fuel prices, lower fares and rupee depreciation continued to hurt the company. In the corresponding quarter the previous year, the company had posted a net profit of Rs 118.23 crore.
However, its total income increased to Rs 3,939.16 crore for the quarter as against Rs 3,473.38 crore recorded during the same quarter of the previous year.
The tax authorities have frozen a large number of bank accounts of Kingfisher squeezing its finances, even as the IATA has suspended it for non-payment of dues from three of its crucial platforms, including those connected with its ticket sales and cargo bookings.